Gathering thankfully around the family table

Unlike previous years, brother Pete and I hadn’t planned anything major this Thanksgiving. Mass in the morning to be sure, followed by a small and cozy dinner for three at our old and scarred family table on the porch. Our good friend Hannah would join us for the feast and so would the cats, Ludmilla and George, begging off to the side for the treats they knew would come.

Things being what they are this year, we thought we’d save up the food budget for the informal Christmas Eve open house we host every year before Midnight Mass. As it turns out, that isn’t necessary. We’ll be adding leaves to the table and settling down for dinner with very good friends who are joining us for a Thanksgiving pot luck.

The menu will feature roast turkey from our kitchen, stuffing and sides from Hannah’s kitchen and mac ‘n cheese  and salad from the Hildebrand family kitchen at the request of the children, Abby and Clay.

The stuffing and mac ‘n cheese recipes will appear on Keeping the Feast on Monday, Nov. 29 along with some photos.

Today though, I wanted to share with you the proclamation composed so long ago for the first national celebration of Thanksgiving by President George Washington. Good friend Juta Nolan e-mailed it along to Keeping the Feast from her brother, Raul, who makes a wonderful habit of sharing inspirational quotes and sayings with a network of folks.

I hope you find it as inspirational as I did. Peace be with you and, a very, Happy Thanksgiving.

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to 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; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.


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