Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
"We pray for the big things, and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not so small) blessings.”
"No one is discontented who employs and enjoys to the utmost what he has. It is high philosophy to say, we can have just what we like, if we like what we have; but this much at least can be done, and this is contentment, to have the most and best in life, by making the most and best of what we have.
Spirituality is best manifested on the ground, not in the air. Rapturous day-dreams, flights of heavenly fancy, longings to see the Invisible, are less expensive and less expressive than the plain doing of duty.
To have bread excite thankfulness and a drink of water send the heart to God is better than sighs for the unattainable. To plow a straight furrow on Monday or dust a room well on Tuesday or kiss a bumped forehead on Wednesday is worth more than the most ecstatic thrill under Sunday eloquence.
Spirituality is seeing God in common things, and showing God in common tasks."
There are times when we fall to our knees and thank God for all His blessings, and tender mercies.
And there are other times when we arrogantly refuse to bend or bow to anything, and to defer to anyone but ourselves, in a kind of misplaced sense of self-sufficiency and pride.
And then God Himself brings us down to our knees to remind us, in His providence, of who we are, and to teach us how to be grateful for what we have already been given, and those sufferings and misfortunes that His hand has stayed from us.
"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord."
Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God.
The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.
In giving thanks for the greatest harvest in the history of our nation, we who plant and reap can well resolve that in the year to come we will do all in our power to pass that milestone; for by our labors in the fields we can share some part of the sacrifice with our brothers and sons who wear the uniform of the United States.
It is fitting that we recall now the reverent words of George Washington, "Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection," and that every American in his own way lift his voice to Heaven.
I recommend that all of us bear in mind this great Psalm:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.Inspired with faith and courage by these words, let us turn again to the work that confronts us in this time of national emergency : in the armed services and the merchant marine; in factories and offices; on farms and in the mines; on highways, railways and airways; in other places of public service to the Nation; and in our homes.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me I the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou annointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, President of the United States of America, do hereby invite the attention of the people to the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as thanksgiving Day’ and I request that both Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1942, and New Year’s Day, January 1, 1943, be observed in prayer, publicly and privately.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this eleventh day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-seventh.
Franklin D. Roosevelt