Happy Thanksgiving, Brothers. I know as you read this the pain of facing another blue Monday is much tempered by the joy of the approaching three-day work week. Admit it… you're going to take Friday off, aren't you? I've never made that my habit. My philosophy is it's easier to get things done when the office is as empty and quiet as a ghost town. Besides, that's Black Friday. You can sit in the safety of your office while throngs at Walmart and Target trample themselves to snag that big-screen TV they don't really need.
But we all know there is a deeper meaning to the holiday. It's a time we can set aside to be with friends and family, and to be thankful for those relationships as well as the bounty of our country, which most of us share.
And What's Masonic about that? Many lodges celebrate with a Thanksgiving dinner or, like my own Lodge, provide one to a deserving family or group who might not have the means to celebrate with the rest of us. It's a springboard into a season of giving in which we can practice the second of our tenets of brotherly love relief and truth.
We all know the story of the "Pilgrims and Indians" celebrating the "First Thanksgiving." First in the "New World" it may have been, but it was not the first United States Thanksgiving since, at that time, the US did not exist. Brother George Washington proclaimed that first US official Thanksgiving celebration in 1789, when he declared November 26 to be set aside not to be thankful for the nation's bounty but to give thanks for the newly adopted Constitution. Washington also enjoined people to "...unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications... beseeching [God] to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
Although celebrated off-and-on, usually unofficially, from that time forward, Thanksgiving did not become a permanent official US holiday until Brother Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed it so in 1939.
So, once again, happy Thanksgiving, Brothers. May we all reflect on what he have to be thankful for as we celebrate happily passed out in front of a football game in our tryptophan-induced stupors.