It’s good to have a reminder now and then to stop, look around at our lives and our world, and pay special attention to the blessings we enjoy. We have a God who loves us, a nation and state founded on principles of virtue and justice, and a level of material prosperity that enables many of us to not only be comfortable, but to give to those in need. We live in a nation where we still have the right to practice our faith almost entirely without legal repercussions; our government and our legal system still work toward the goal of punishing evil and protecting innocent life.
This is what our founding fathers meant when they wrote about “the blessings of liberty.” Our Virginia Constitution, drafted and signed by folks like Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and James Madison, understood that our freedom is a blessing to be carefully guarded and treasured.
“...no free government, or the blessings of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.” (Virginia Constitution, Declaration of Rights, Section 15)
The blessings of liberty come with a price. Our parents taught us about them, the men and women who serve in defense of our country fight and die for them, and we have a duty to teach our children to value them and uphold them. We know the truth of the statement that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” whether Jefferson actually said it or not.
Let’s resolve this Thanksgiving to be grateful for the blessings of liberty that we enjoy, and to protect it by teaching our kids and friends to adhere to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue. And my last admonition is that we should consider how we use our liberty, too; it gives us the ability to help many folks here in our community that need helping, and now’s the perfect time of year to reach out to a stranger or friend in need.