Today, in America is Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of celebration of what we have made of God’s gift to us all. Its history reaches all the way back to our Pilgrim forebearers, who felt called to thank God that they had survived in the Massachusetts Bay.
My understanding is that more of our British cousins are joining us in our day of Thanksgiving. I think it is meet that they do so after all, the founders of the day were Englishmen.
Now it is a day of parades, football, serious overeating, and sleeping off that overeating by sleeping through the football on TV. But I think we all deep in our hearts do remember to thank “The Big Guy” for all we have, and the freedom to enjoy it.
President Washington certainly knew something about dark days, far darker than ours are today, and he (and Congress) thought it fit to remember the Author of our blessings. So should we.
From the Heritage Foundation
Thanksgiving ProclamationIssued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
That’s the reason for the day put as well as anyone has, ever.
It has been a tumultuous year with the British and American peoples setting out on a course correction, against the advice of many of the leaders of our societies. How it will work out is to be seen, but our peoples have usually been right in their vision, and in their choice of those to lead us. This, from the 1928 Book of Prayer seems appropriate:
ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
But for the AATW family, we have another reason to thank God. Several changes have happened, not least that Chalcedon has changed job, to one which allows him to expressly exhibit his Catholicity, but which is quite demanding of his time. I admire and envy him, but also feel sorry for him.
ALMIGHTY God, our Heavenly Father, who hast committed to thy Holy Church the care and nurture of thy children; Enlighten with thy wisdom those who teach and those who learn; that, rejoicing in the knowledge of thy truth, they may worship thee and serve thee from generation to generation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And sadly some of our dear friends are absent today, especially (but not only) Geoffrey and Jessica. If they happen to read this, I hope they will know they are daily thought of and prayed for, for they are indeed some of the dearest friends we have, and we continue to pray they will be able at some point to return to what has indeed become a family. From The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of Ireland (1926)
O GOD, who art present in every place; Mercifully hear our prayers for those whom we love, now absent from us; watch over them, we beseech thee and protect them in all anxiety, danger, and temptation; teach us and them to know that thou art always near, and that we are one in thee for ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
And so, we mark another year, of life, of AATW, of the Christian church, and of our friendship, and we go forth, seeing as ever, through a glass darkly, trying to do the right thing, often failing, getting back up and trying again. So it ever was