On October 3, 1789, then president of the newly established nation of the United States George Washington issued a proclamation declaring November 26th “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” He claimed to have done so at the request of both houses of Congress, who asked him to acknowledge “with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.”
I’m trying to imagine members of Congress coming up with such words today. I’m also thinking that if each elected member of the federal government, and perhaps all levels of government, spent some time focusing on the things they are thankful for, the United States would be a better nation for it.
In fact, I think if every American citizen spent more time thinking about the things they are thankful for and less time thinking about how stupid their clearly unthinking, unreasonable, stubborn donkey of a neighbor, coworker, sister-in-law, or drunken uncle on the other side of the aisle is, then the United States would be a much better nation for it.
We can, and probably should, do that every single day. Thanksgiving Day didn’t become an official national holiday until 1870 when a post-Civil War United States desperately needed a reason to come together and focus on the good stuff.
The date wasn’t set on the calendar as the fourth Thursday of November until 1941, but since the very earliest days of the US, the Congress—arguably the collection of the most needlessly quarrelsome and infuriatingly frustrating of its citizens—has recognized that thankfulness is a good thing. And if rarely on much else, on this one thing, we agree.
It’s been a hot minute since I have posted in this space, as I was feeling a little burned out. I admit it’s taken me longer than I anticipated to be ready to jump back into the blogosphere, but as I reflect today on all the things I am thankful for, I am realizing the list definitely includes the opportunity this blog has given me to connect with so many wonderful, creative people all over the world. I’m so thankful for all of you. And I’m also thankful for a consistent weekly kick in the pants to write something, even when I’m too busy or stressed out or uninspired.
Happy official Thanksgiving to all my American blogging friends, and to my international friends as well, because even without a presidential proclamation or an act of Congress, thankfulness is a good thing.