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Thinking about Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Once again, the holiday season is upon us. I’m in the group who didn’t get through with summer before fall got here and now it’s time to celebrate the holidays. The older I get, the faster the time passes.

Getting in the holiday spirit means the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving cooking and Christmas shopping. Office parties, church groups and family get-togethers are all part of the deal. And then it will be over and the new year will be upon us.

Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday. Lincoln, one of my favorite historical figures, was a somewhat sad and humble man who was always quick to recognize the omnipotence of God but who never joined a church. Doubtless, he was the glue that held our nation together during extremely perilous times.

Thinking about Lincoln and his Thanksgiving Day holiday proclamation got me to thinking about the meaning of the holidays, Thanksgiving in particular. Aside from all the tasty food and family visits, it’s good that we have a time set aside to pause and be thankful for the blessings that have come our way.

Each of us would have our own personal list of things for which we are thankful. Some will cite material blessings while for others the spiritual gift of having peace with our Creator will be the central theme. Enjoying meaningful relationships with friends and family will certainly rank near the top for most people.

While pondering the meaning of the season, I was reminded of the death of two friends over the past couple of years. Both were in their early 70s and had lived full lives, though shorter than we would have liked. Neither was famous, as the world defines fame, but those who knew them well sorely miss them. They could always be counted on to bring a spark of good cheer to our gatherings. They were both men who were direct and plain spoken, honest and hard working and possessed of an inner calm that let everyone know that they were comfortable with how they had lived their lives.

The fact that we miss them is a testament to their friendship. When our lives come to an end people will either be sad, indifferent or glad that we’re no longer around. What traits do we so admire in a person that makes us sad at their passing? And, isn’t that a lofty goal for all of us, that people would be sad at our death?

Scripture tells us that a good name is more treasured than great riches and that pretty much says it all. Being honest, caring, encouraging and unselfish are traits that will endear us to all that cross our paths in life. Having the opportunity to know and love people like that is a real blessing.

I think this Thanksgiving holiday is a good time to pause and be thankful for the really great people with whom we have the honor and pleasure of sharing our lives. And, in so doing, perhaps we’ll be inspired to live better lives ourselves. Perhaps this Thanksgiving would be a good time to let them know how much they mean to us before it’s too late.

For all of us here at the Mississippi Business Journal, I bid you a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.

Joe D. Jones, CPA (retired), is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. Contact him at cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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