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We all have something to be grateful for on Thanksgiving: Editorial

Posted 11/21/18

We’ve reached another Thanksgiving, and we encourage all of you to take time to think about what you have to be thankful for.

If you are sitting down to eat turkey tomorrow, take time to say …

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We all have something to be grateful for on Thanksgiving: Editorial

Posted

We’ve reached another Thanksgiving, and we encourage all of you to take time to think about what you have to be thankful for.

If you are sitting down to eat turkey tomorrow, take time to say out loud one thing for which you are thankful. Encourage everyone else at the table to do the same.

We all have much to be thankful for, even those who are suffering through challenges as we head toward the end of 2018.

We can’t ignore the disputes we have as a country right now. Many people say we have never been more divided. That’s simply not true.

We fought a Civil War more than 150 years ago. Americans took up arms against each other. We are nowhere near that divided yet, and we certainly hope we never are.

Speaking of that Civil War, it was President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 who set aside the last Thursday of November each year as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”

To Lincoln, it was no doubt a religious day:

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union,” his proclamation says in part.

The holiday is less a religious one in today’s society. In fact, after 30 years, the Community Thanksgiving Service is not being held this year, Middletown Area Interfaith Council has announced.

Instead, many people see it as a four-day weekend and the start of the Christmas shopping season. That’s OK, but as we urged before, take time to be thankful.

Be thankful that we live in a country where we have vast freedoms, despite the challenges we face.

We have been through worse. We will survive.

Be thankful for our soldiers who are defending our country. Take a moment to remember those who don’t make it back, like Middletown’s own Mason Guckavan, who died last month while serving as a specialist in the Army in Alaska.

Be thankful for those who choose teaching as a career, to help our young people become smarter, better residents. Take a moment to remember teachers who died too young, such as Natalie Cibort, the Reid Elementary School second-grade teacher whose story can be found on the front page today.

If you are able to spend Thanksgiving with family, be thankful for the opportunity. If you are apart, be thankful that it has never been easier to catch up via phone calls, FaceTime and social media.

Find something, no matter how much despair there is in your life, for which to be thankful.

Even in the depths of the Civil War, Lincoln’s proclamation states: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

He didn’t ignore that we were at war as a country. But he acknowledged that, despite all the challenges, there was plenty of good going on in our country.

We wish you a wonderful thanksgiving, full of good food and joy, and a time out to be thankful. If you can also take time to make someone else’s life a little bit better this holiday season, we encourage you to do that as well.

For example, you could do as the Middletown Area Interfaith Council urges and support the Middletown Area Food Pantry and Human Needs Fund.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!