Rosicrucian Writings Online

[H. Spencer Lewis]

[From The Rosicrucian Digest November 1935]
IN AMERICA the month of November is usually associated with the thought of the Thanksgiving holiday, and football. Perhaps with a very large portion of the American citizens more thought is given to football than to thanksgiving.
Regardless of the traditional story relating the reason for the establishment of a thanksgiving holiday by annual proclamation in the United States, it is a fact that an annual day of expression of appreciation is a wholesome and beneficent incident in the lives of all beings. Just why the expression of our appreciation for life and the many blessings of life should be limited to one day in the year is difficult to understand, but if we could crowd into that one day a proper realization and appreciation of what life means to us, it would be a real blessing in itself.
The month of November is fraught with many incidents of an historical nature which tend to direct our thinking along lines of appreciation and thankfulness. Those who are interested in religious history will give thought to the fact that on the same day of November--the tenth--were born two great religious leaders, Mohammed in the year 570, and Martin Luther in the year 1483. Those interested in the human affairs of the world will always be thankful that November 11 is the anniversary of the signing of the World War Armistice in 1918.
Those who are interested in music and the cultural things of life in the new world on the American side of the Atlantic will rejoice in the fact that the 18th of November is the anniversary of the opening of the first opera house in New York City in the year 1833. We may feel sometimes that grand opera in New York has become more of a social than a cultural event or incident, but the fact remains that the most sincere support of grand opera and of the other higher and better forms of music has come from the mass of people constituting the middle or lower classes who have music in their souls and seek grand opera, symphonic concerts, and other forms of cultural expression in order to give their souls the necessary food for thought and inspiration.
Those who love mystery and appreciate the bewitching and intriguing elements of unsolved problems will appreciate the 19th of November as the anniversary of one of the great Cosmic mysteries, the appearance or apparition of three suns seen in the heavens of London on this date in the year 1644. Others will delight in the mystery that surrounded the "man in the iron mask" who passed through transition in the year 1703.
Those who have appreciated a style of literature typically American, and witty in its drollest form, will be glad that on the 30th of November in the year 1835 Mark Twain was born.
But there are so many thousands of things for which we should be thankful, and can be thankful, that the average individual is unmindful of the debt of gratitude that he owes his Maker, and mankind in general. While we give thanks to God and the Heavenly Hosts for life itself and the blessings that come to us through Divine laws in nature and otherwise hour by hour and day by day, let us also be mindful of the sacrifice made by man himself in the past to contribute to our needs and improve and advance civilization.
From the time that we rise in the morning, and can use clean, cold water to bathe our faces, and a shower to bathe our bodies, for which we should give thanks to science and human invention for the modern hygienic facilities we enjoy, to the hour that we place our tired bodies upon a comfortable bed, or even on the floor of a protected room to close our eyes in slumber and express appreciation for man's ingenuity in devising homes and enclosures and beds and protection against the winter and harmful elements, we should be conscious of each and every little thing that men and women have conserved and planned, invented and devised in the past centuries to evolve modern civilization and modern conveniences.
We may feel that when we purchase a sewing machine or an automobile, a coffee pot, or a suit of clothes, an electric light bulb, or a fountain pen, a pair of shoes or a radio, or even a box of matches, that we have duly compensated for what we received with the exchange of money, and that no obligation rests upon us, and that the manufacturer and the dealer who handled the articles have been paid, and that even the man who invented these devices has received in the past, or is receiving now through royalty, his recompense. But the five-cent piece that we pay for matches, or the fifty dollars we pay for a radio, or the thousand dollars we pay for an automobile can never fully compensate and repay those who have given of their mind and body to make possible the things we enjoy. Back of each little simple invention and humanly-invented device are hours of toil and struggle, hours of pain, and worry, and an endless chain of sacrifice and devotion. No great invention or modern conception was born to success out of a purely mercenary mind. No successful inventor has ever been motivated exclusively by a desire to turn a conception into materialization solely for the profit he might make of it. Whenever such has been the early urge in the mind of man or woman, failure has met each effort on the part of the inventor or schemer, and it has not been until the conception has reached the consciousness and mind of an individual who sees in the idea something that is not only profitable to himself, but helpful to the scheme of civilization, that the Cosmic has crowned his labors with success.
The patent office or that governmental institute in each country where the proposed or partially evolved device of human ingenuity is submitted for protection and registration, is filled with the schemes and the material forms of ideas conceived in the minds of men and women who thought only of their plans as ways to personal aggrandizement and the miserly accumulation of wealth. But these schemes and plans lay in unfulfilled and unevolved form as silent tokens of the futility of man's hopes in this direction. To the same degree that such things have been conceived in a mercenary spirit have they remained unevolved, incompleted, and useless.
On the other hand, it is a notable fact that the greatest of all human inventions from the dawn of civilization to this very hour are those which were born out of the love for achievement or attainment in the contributions to civilization, and which have brought to their inventor no money, no financial support, but only years of sacrifice and suffering. If monuments could be built to those who have given us marvelous devices of usefulness, and who passed out of this life in poverty and want, and never saw the material benefits of their conceptions, but who nevertheless persevered that the concept might be recreated in our lives, we would have a field of monuments far more extensive and significant than the national cemetery of Europe filled with the small monuments of those who gave their lives in war.
It is to these millions of contributors to our worldly benefits, as well as to God for the blessings of life, that we should pay thanks and show our appreciation on Thanksgiving day, and each day of the year should be one of thanksgiving for something, and we should make it our business along with our daily prayers and petitions for continued blessings to be appreciative of the things we are now enjoying every day of our life, as well as those blessings which we have had in the past.

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