We have begun my favorite time of the year. Whether you look at it as the end of this year or the beginning of the next, the calendar spends the next five weeks offering each of us reminders of life's real meaning.
Thanksgiving gets things started. The fourth Thursday in November comes each year to make sure we're focused on the many blessings each of us have in our lives. For many of us, that focus this year may be harder than ever to find. But in 1863, our country in the middle of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln included these words as part of his declaration of a national day of thanksgiving, a declaration that has been honored each year since:
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
I believe in times as tough as we face in our country today, it is more important than ever to be thankful. For many people like myself, we have family. And as uncertain as our economy is today, family retains their value. In fact, a sinking economy helps me understand the value of my wife and two wonderful boys more each day. We have been living in a period of unimaginable abundance in our country, and I think we have been prone to forget the source from which it comes. But each day that Katie and I have the opportunity to experience life with Elliott and Baby Ian, we know they are blessings so extraordinary in nature that they must come from God above.
We are all human. And even the most thankful person is subject to the anxieties of the times. So along comes Christmas, and with it - Hope. A couple of thousand years or so ago God recognized a world headed the wrong way. A world with little direction and little hope for a better life. His answer was to send his Son who gave his life in order for us to understand that no matter how challenging life might become on earth, we can continue to prosper and thrive in his kingdom. As Christmas rolls around this year, I hope the reminder of hope rings louder than it ever has.
And finally, as the last second of the calendar year ticks away, New Year's Day arrives. A day built into the calendar each year to provide us an opportunity for a fresh start. Full of hope and thankfulness, we are armed to tackle the new year with a healthy perspective. Many of us do just that. Some of us successful, some of us not. But whatever the case, the best five weeks of the year will soon roll around again, assuring us one more reminder of what is really important.
We've certainly needed the reminder in our house the last few days. On Thanksgiving day, just as we were headed to grandma and grandpa's house for dinner, Elliott got sick. The poor guy threw up and fell into an all day slumber in my lap. Katie and Ian went on without us and enjoyed the festivities. Then yesterday, Katie took Ian to the doctor. The doctor was concerned that Ian had a respiratory infection, so he had him admitted to the hospital. Thankfully, the doctors who observed him last night felt he was well enough to go home today. We are grateful we didn't have to endure the extended stay we went through with Elliott, who had a similar issue when he was two months old.
There was one very positive sign with Ian. His weight is up to 9lb 5ozs., which is over two pounds more than he weighed when he left the hospital after his birth.