Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Prayers

Today we are celebrating a uniquely American holiday, Thanksgiving Day. First celebrated via proclamation by President George Washington, on Thursday, November 26, 1789, " 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..."

When I was a child, before we sat down to Thanksgiving Dinner, my Father would read, or have one of the rest of us read, A Prayer of Thanksgiving from the (Episcopalian) Book of Common Prayer that began, "Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love..."

When my children were small, we would go around the table and each of us would say something that we are thankful for.

Recently, I heard my sweet husband, while cleaning the dishes after a Tahnksgiving meal, say to himself, and all within earshot, "I am thankful to the man who invented the garbage disposal."

True, Thanksgiving Day has as many meanings as there are people. I frequently hear some people refer to it as "Turkey Day". Since I began working at the Big Box Super Store, I have met many who think of it as the precourser to "Black Friday", which I have already blogged about.

Since we already had our Thanksgiving meal at our house, I woke up this morning and leisurely read my paper and drank my coffee. My local newspaper, The Omaha World-Herald, publishes a column called "Annie's Mailbox", a descendant of "Dear Abby", and I found a little Thanksgiving Prayer I liked so much, I saved it and printed it out to hang on my wall to see every day. I would like to share it with you here:
We come to this table today, O Lord, humble and thankful and glad.
We thank Thee first for the great miracle of life, for the exaltation of being human, for the capacity to love.
We thank Thee for joys both great and simple —
For wonder, dreams and hope;
For the newness of each day;
For laughter and song and a merry heart;
For compassion waiting within to be kindled;
For the forbearance of friends and the smile of a stranger;
For the arching of the earth and trees and heavens and the fruit of all three;
For the wisdom of the old;
For the courage of the young;
For the promise of the child;
For the strength that comes when needed;
For this family united here today.
Of those to whom much is given, much is required.
May we and our children remember this. Amen.

Let us also take a moment to remember a moment in our history that has been neglected in all the discussion of the holidays, and shopping, and eating. On this date, 49 years ago, President John F. Kennedy was murdered, leaving behind his young wife, two small children, and a shocked and heartbroken nation.

I wonder what George Washington would have written about the anniversary of a National Tragedy coinciding with a National Day of Thanks. Perhaps he would have suggested we give thanks to that Great and Glorious Being, not just for all that we have, but for all of those who came before us, who have contributed to who we are.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Eat up! Give thanks!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Omaha,United States

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Holiday Craziness and Health Insurance.

Since I work in retail, I do not enjoy the holidays as much as I used to. I come home from work exhausted, and frankly I have a hard time getting into the spirit of the season until Christmas Eve. If you want to know how I feel about that day, go back and read my Blog post of December 23, 2011:
But the weeks preceding have become hard.
Hallowe'en is a tapestry of memories, joyful and sad, as well as the opening salvo of "the holiday season". In 2001, my mother passed away as I was handing out treats to my neighborhood munchkins. She had been ill, and in hospice, so it was not unexpected, but I spent the evening arranging travel, and packing. When I looked out the window and saw that there was a full moon, I felt a sense of wonder and joy that she had chosen that particular moment to start her new adventure. I had no regrets about our relationship, and the event has not had any effect on my joyful heart on hallowe'en as I greet hundreds of smiling, sweet (mostly) children each year.
But in my work, Hallowe'en has begun to morph into the Christmas shopping season. I'm already tired of candy, and I'm already just plain tired at the end of the day.
This year I am especially saddened that the big box retail store that employs me and provides my health insurance, has opted to ask its employees to interrupt time they might otherwise be spending with their families, so that it may begin its "Black Friday" event on Thanksgiving evening.
Even before I worked in retail, I wasn't one of those who partake in this remarkable event each year. I like to stay home and watch football. When asked what hours I wanted to work on that day, I opted for my regular schedule. I'm not looking forward to the craziness, but I am thankful for the health insurance.

When my children were small, Thanksgiving was a day when we would gather together, either at our home, or at the home of my in-laws, to cook, eat too much, and relax. Some years we would invite an "orphan" to join us. Usually a friend who was single and living far away from his or her own family. It was a way to share a day that, I believe, is a day we celebrate family, with someone who would otherwise be alone.
These past few years I sometimes feel I have to dig deep to find the joy in the cooking, eating and clean up, since the next day begins the grueling shopping season.
As you shop this year, dear Reader, please remember your tired retail worker. Did I say how I am thankful for the Health insurance?
Be friendly. Curb your frustration, and share a little love. I know I will appreciate your extra smile and patience.
Since I have written this, numerous petitions have sprung up asking various retailers to adjust their openings back to actual day-after-Thanksgiving, in order to allow their employees to spend the entire day with their families. If you are interested in signing any of these petitions, click on this link: Or just Google "black Friday petitions".
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad