I notice a lot of our visitors and followers of Legacy Dad come from around the world. It occurs to me that a couple of definitions surrounding the famous American celebration of Thanksgiving Day are in order. Most all everywhere know the concept of giving thanks. Even when life's circumstances are difficult, even painful, the mature and the wise, especially of those who experience God's personal grace and favor, know how to be grateful.
Our first--and for many favorite--president, George Washington, made a declaration as requested by the Congress. My family with nine of us gathered about a magnificent table of all the traditional meal items yesterday (Turkey, stuffing, mashed and sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberries, gelatin salad, and three different pies). It was a two-day affair with children selecting which dish they would assist in preparing or take on solo.
It is interesting, though. The dishes set on the table, the fragrance of them all building our anticipation, we paused for George...and for God. It took only about two minutes as Dad read President Washington’s statement to make so clear how our abundance and blessing of every sort was from the Lord God Almighty and that a national and personal declaration of thanks was required of men and women of conscience. What is so pleasant to recall is that five kids, 12 to 5, all paused. The anticipations of the first mouthful was set aside, and they listened with sincere interest. After defining some old English wording, and a long prayer by the family patriarch--that's me—we all enjoyed and appreciated the taste of abundance.
Now we’re at a second definition, "patriarch". Simply defined, that is the male leader of a family, a clan/tribe/village, or of a religious order. Right. But, what does that have to do with a 2010 grandfather in a culture that has lost--and in some cases banished--certain family traditions, some of them of biblical origin? Not much unless honor is offered this elder of the family we like to call our "Taylor-Pettit clan." It was offered, and I privately glowed.
Getting honor among three rough and tough cowboys who think “Popi” is the funniest man alive and still good for really rough gang wrestling is a treasured moment. This patriarch prayed a long prayer of gratitude to the Father and His Son, Jesus the Messiah, and was given the Turkey-cutting knife. That is, indeed, the highest of honors. Later, "Oh, High and Esteemed and Exalted Patriarch" became the laugh phrase of the day as they beat the snot out of me on the living room floor.
"Black Friday?" It's a recent cultural word that emerges from America's materialism and definitely not from its Christian Heritage. That is the day stores open as early as 6am and the biggest sales of the year are offered to lure people (mostly, but not entirely, wives and mothers) to do their Christmas shopping.
"Patriarchal Blessings?" That’s what I am enjoying today. In the ranching hills of Utah, we are four hours from the big malls; blessing number one. So, today we take the whole clan way back into the forest to cut down a Christmas tree. When we had our ranch in Colorado, we rode our horses up the mountain and dragged the tree back. All day. Today it's a truck. But tonight Dad, Matt, and Grandfather--I mean, "patriarch"--"Popi" will mount hour horses ride for several hours in the dark and snow AND cold (very), share a cigar and refresh our stories of legacy.
The biggest blessing of this patriarch, however, on this "anything-but-black" Friday is the glow of remembering how each child in his own way, sat next to me at the meal, nestled up to me during the family movie, and took me aside for counsel on his biggest life purchase to date (a laptop, of course).
.I conclude a record-long post with a reminder from Lance's Thanksgiving Day scriptures; read, pause, think, then thank.
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the Lord is good..." [Psalm 100:4, 5a]
"Do not get tired of doing what is good. Don't get discouraged and give up, For we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time. - Galatians 6:9