BulletinGold #120
December 2010   Vol 10 #10
 

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BulletinGold #120
December 2010
Vol. 10 Num. 10
Editors:
David Bragg
Edward Thomason
BulletinGold
BulletinGold is published the first Sunday of each month to help Church of Christ bulletin editors and writers share Bible-based, doctrinal material for church bulletins and Christian writing. You received BulletinGold because you subscribed. If you received this copy from a friend and would like to subscribe, please send a blank email to: BulletinGold-subscribe@yahoogroups.com Be sure and reply to the letter sent to your email by YahooGroups. If you need to unsubscribe, you may do so by sending an email to: BulletinGold-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
 
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In This Issue:
Articles
Nuggets
Poems
Quotes
- May you have
- The Right Gift, by Craig Evans
- Religious Holidays, by Dave Miller
- Using Our Time Wisely, by Dale Grissom
- Resolutions, by David R. Ferguson
- The New Year,  by Ronald Bartanen
- What About Christmas? By Gus Nichols
- Alexander Campbell  on Christmas
- Christmas Gift
- A New Beginning
- Cleaning House For 2011
- Take Time
- We Welcome You with Wide Arms, by J. Randal Matheny
- But Once A Year, by J. Randal Matheny
quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs


New Postings At
BulletinGold
Extra
Editorial by David Bragg
As we enter the month of December, with the holiday season fast approaching, it is only natural to reflect upon our past and consider how our future may be brighter. This will be the focus in this final issue of BulletinGold in 2009. I thought the following item really helps set the mood for this month's edition.

David Bragg
http://www.davidbragg.org/


May you have-
Enough happiness to make you sweet,
Enough trials to make you strong,
Enough sorrows to keep you human,
and enough hope to make you happy.

- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

Panning for Gold Feature Articles:
The Right Gift
By Craig Evans

     Christmas is a very exciting time of year.  Children especially are so very, very excited about what they want for Christmas.  They make lists, drop hints, and get their heart set on certain things.  It seems that the stores seem to know what the big hit of the year is going to be, and carry as few of them as possible.  Christmas day will come as a whirlwind of excitement, the presents will be opened and the kids will play with the boxes their gifts came in.  So many gifts will be given, but over time clothes will no longer fit, toys will be broken, and even the subscription to the jelly of the month club will expire.
     The greatest gift that you can give your children, or anyone for that matter, is the gift of sharing Christ.  This is not just done once with a few words, but is done in your daily interactions.  Sharing the love of Christ with your children is the only gift that will last for an eternity.  The gift of Christ will never break, shrink, become tattered, go out of style, or spoil.   
     Moses writes in Deuteronomy 6.4-9:
4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 
He is exhorting Hebrew parents to instill in their children, each and every day, faith in.  The fact there are still Jews in 2010 is evidence that some parents took this very seriously.
     I want to encourage you to share your faith in God every day with your children, and it will be the greatest gift they have ever received.

- Craig Evans serves as youth minister for the Calvert City church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com


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Religious Holidays
By Dave Miller

“You observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid for you...”
(Galatians 4:10-11)
    Another change being implemented in churches and growing in popularity is the formal observance of religious holidays - specifically Christmas. Churches are now placing Christmas trees in their buildings. Preachers are preaching Christmas sermons and congregations are singing Christmas songs in the regular worship assembly of the church. Drama often enters into the picture with churches offering full scale holiday pageants and performances complete with actors/actresses, costumes, and choral productions.
    Like many other practices, the observance of holidays in the context of the church as a religious activity is a recent innovation among churches of Christ. It demonstrates a convergence of several worship practices which are foreign to the New Testament: choirs, dramatic acting, female leadership in worship, and religious holidays.
    Must we have God's explicit or implicit approval for what we do in religion? Yes. Does God want us to celebrate Christ's birth? Not that we can find in the scriptures, but He has indicated that He does want us to commemorate the death of Christ every Sunday.
    With regard to Christmas, two extremes exist among believers. Some clamor for Christ to be put back into Christmas. Others conscientiously object to the Christian's use of a Christmas tree or any other signs of participation. Two biblical principles ought to guide our thinking. In the first place, God has always been concerned with the religious implications of practices that the believer adopts. God wants us to refrain from engaging in religious activities that are equated with false religion. Second, God desires that we engage only in those religious practices which are authorized (1 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 3:17; 2 John 9). If religious activity is not in accordance with written revelation, it is sinful (Leviticus 10:1-3; 1Chronicles 15:13; Galatians 4:8-11).
    What are the implications of these two divine guidelines? First, Christians do not observe Christmas as a religious holiday. As a religious holy day, it is unauthorized. Scripture repeatedly stresses religious observance of Christ’s death (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 11:26), but makes no provision for the observance of Christ’s birth. To observe Christmas as a religious activity is to identify one's self with religious groups that worship God vainly (Matthew 15:9). God wants His people to appear to the world separate and distinct from counterfeit religion (2 Corinthians 6:16-17).
    Second, while Christians will avoid using symbols that associate the holiday season with unauthorized religious activity (like angels and nativity scenes), they can feel perfectly free to observe Christmas as a festive national holiday (Romans 14:5-6). Decorating trees, giving gifts, and the like, are not necessarily associated with a religious observance of Christmas, as is readily apparent from the fact that thousands of non-religious, atheistic, and Jewish Americans observe the holiday season with all of the cultural trimmings (lights, trees, gifts, etc.). They do so without assigning a “Christian” significance to the practice. In light of biblical teaching, Christians are to consider the current cultural connotations of any given activity.

- Dave Miller (adopted from the book, Piloting The Strait, pages 257-263) by Edd Sterchi. Edd preaches for the Jackson church of Christ in Jackson, MO.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.jacksonchurchofchrist.com


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Using Our Time Wisely
By Dale Grissom
 
    Each week that we are allowed to live contains 10,080 minutes or 604,800 seconds for us to use. There numbers may sound big, but each of us realizes just how quickly the time flies by. As Christians, we must be aware of our responsibility to use this time wisely and to take advantage of every opportunity we have to serve the Lord.
    We have 86,400 waking seconds to use each day. May we not be guilty of wasting it, but may our focus be on using this time to grow in our knowledge of the Word and in the Christian graces, in service to the Lord and our fellow man, and to lead others to Christ. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). We must learn to recognize opportunity when it presents itself, and not let this precious time with which we have been blessed slip away.
     David spoke of the brevity of life in Psalm 90:10: “The days of our years are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (NKJV). James, in his letter, speaks of how fleeting life is: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14).
    Let us make our short time on earth a busy time of laying up treasures in heaven, and may we always be mindful of the admonition of the apostle Paul: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, b the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, whish is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

 - Dale Grissom, former minister and elder, attends the church of Christ in Dexter, MO. Travis L. Quertermous currently serves as the congregation’s preacher. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:   http://www.dexterchurchofchrist.com/



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Resolutions
By David R. Ferguson

    Due to the waxing of the old year as we are fast approaching the start of a new, this is the time in which we start making resolutions in order to improve our lives.  I am all for doing whatever is necessary to improve our lives, but I am a strong believer that we should always remember to do what our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, said in Matthew 6:33: "But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well."  We should never fail to put God and His will first in our lives in everything we do.
    The word of God is all about new beginnings: We have the Book of Genesis itself, whose very name means "beginning," and within its pages God shares with us the creation story and how, with just His word, the whole universe sprang into existence.  We also see how sin first arrived in that perfect world, and how quick was God to offer a remedy for that sin by stating the very first prophecy of redemption regarding the Messiah in Genesis 3:15.  A few chapters later we see the underpinning of the nation of Israel laid as God promises Abraham that from him would come peoples and nations and most importantly, the Promised Seed from Whom all the world would be blessed.  At the conclusion of the Book of Genesis we see the foundation of God's chosen people being created as Joseph protects his family from the famine that had ravaged the land, his family who were direct descendants of Abraham, in the land of Egypt.
     In the Book of Exodus we see the beginning of the nation of Israel, God's chosen people, come to fruition as God calls them out of bondage in Egypt as the Lord formed His covenant with them at Mt. Sinai.  But shortly thereafter we witness the beginning of the long history of Israel's rebellion against Jehovah, but He is steadfastly loving and patient and kind in His longsuffering, always maintaining a remnant for Himself.
     In 1 Samuel we find the beginning of the monarchy created as God has Samuel anoint Saul as its first earthly king, once again resulting from the people rejecting their true King, Jehovah.  It is in 2 Samuel we find the beginning of the Davidic line to the throne established, the line from which came Israel's and our King and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Upon His arrival the Old Covenant gave way to the new, which is why the Hebrews writer tells us in Hebrews 8:13 just before the Destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, "And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."
     Jesus Christ is all about new beginnings.  Through Him we have forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).  Through Him we can have a new birth (John 3:3), and it is through this new birth that our old man dies and we are resurrected to be a new creation (Romans 6:3-5), and no longer at enmity with God (James 4:4).  As Paul succinctly tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come."  May you begin the New Year right with Christ!

- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx


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The New Year
By Ronald Bartanen
 
   WELCOME into the New Year of 2011! We thank God for the opportunity, so close to the start of a new year, to begin it in worship.  I can think of no better way to start off the year than in praise to our Father in the name of His Son.
   It is great to receive something new.  We have just passed the Christmas season, in which the giving and receiving of gifts has become a significant traditional part.  Maybe you didn't receive what you wanted for Christmas, but no doubt you appreciated the thoughtfulness of the givers.  It may be that you were among the many to go, with gift receipt in hand, to wherever the gift was purchased to exchange it for something else.  It may have been a clothing item that didn't fit, or simply an item you wouldn't have chosen for yourself.  Or possibly you could have returned an appliance or gadget that didn't function as it should.  It may have had a one year guarantee, and it malfunctioned before the year was up.  It's comforting to be able to turn it in and start all over.  For whatever reason, it is good to have a choice.
   Some things in life, however, come without a guarantee.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if each year had a one year guarantee to be able to turn an unpleasant year in and start all over again?

   Another thought occurs to me along this line.  Sometimes defective merchandise is recalled by the manufacturer, and a new item is given you. The fact is that God will not recall the year He gives us.  Any defect is not in the year, but in our use of the year.  A year will be largely what we make of it, good or bad.  As we begin the year of 2011, may it be a year devoted to God, and spent faithfully in His service.
   While our Creator will not recall or take back the year He gives us, He will recall us.  "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ." (2 Cor. 5:10).  May all be ready to be recalled!

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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Nuggets & Quick Riches - misc. goodies
What About Christmas?
By Gus Nichols
 
There is no proof that Christ was born on December 25. But the glorious good news is in the fact that He was born as our Saviour, that He came down from heaven to seek and to save the lost (Luke 2:8-12).
    Christ should be just as precious to us as if He had been born on December 25. In fact, if He had been born only yesterday we would know nothing of His wonderful life, His miracles, His teachings, His death for our sins, His resurrection and ascension into heaven. We would know nothing about the New Testament church and the spreading of Christianity upon the earth, as in the Acts of the Apostles. In fact, if Christ had been born yesterday, we would not yet have the New Testament and Christianity.
    Another fact worthy of consideration is the fact that we can rejoice in Christ, as Christians and believers in Christ, on December 25, just the same as on the other 364 days of the year. We do not have to cease to be happy in Jesus at “Christmas” just to be different from others. Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phi. 4:4). This would take in Christmas the same as all other days of the year.
    Instead of revealing the date of the birth of Christ, God has revealed the day on which He was raised from the dead—the first day of the week (Mark 16:1, 9; Luke 24:1-47). God does want us to celebrate this day. It is a day called “the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10; 1 Cor. 16:2). In it we are especially rejoiceful and glad.
    We should show our faith in Christ, in His birth, in His life, in all He did for us, and is doing for us, in every proper way; but we should not deceive others into thinking we are celebrating December 25 as the birthday of Christ, for there is no good reason to believe it is the date of His birth. But when all the facts are considered, there is nothing to prevent our enjoying the holiday season just ahead called “Christmas.”
    We may give and receive gifts in this season, or at any other season of the year, on December 25, or on another day of the year that we wish—on our birthday, or that of others. In fact, we should “rejoice with them that do rejoice” at Christmas or any other time. There is not enough happiness in the world any way. We can, however, do all this without celebrating Christmas as the birthday of Christ.
    Finally, it is proof of the divinity of Christ to find Him so popular in the world nineteen hundred years after His birth that the civilized world wants to celebrate His birth, whether it knows the date or not. Thank God for our Lord and His coming into the world, regardless of the exact date of His arrival by virgin birth. We shall, therefore, go on teaching His truth, whatever is proper and fitting, regardless of “Christmas.”
 
- Gus Nichols; via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org


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Alexander Campbell  on Christmas
 
   Consider the following brief excerpt from a much longer article by Alexander Campbell titled "Musings on Christmas Morning," which was penned in the month of December, 1843 "This morning being Christmas, my thoughts naturally lead me to Bethlehem, Calvary, and the sepulcher of Joseph.  And what mysterious, sublime and animating associations cluster around those three places! How near the point of distance! Eight short miles measured the whole space from the manger to the cross! And how short the interval of time between the first birth from Mary, and the second birth from Joseph of Arimathea's tomb! Not quite the half of three score years and ten completes the labors and the life of Heaven's and Earth's First Born! And yet what scenes and transactions crowd this narrow space of earth, and this short interval of time..  This blest child of a thousand hopes and promises this wonderful offspring of Divinity and humanity this Son of God and Son of Man, was born to be a light of all nations, and of all ages to scatter night away from all eyes within the realms of mercy to break forever its dark scepter and annihilate its power over all His friends and brethren to dry up the tears of a weeping world by washing away its sins and sorrows in a fountain filled with His own blood to deliver man from the fiercest of all tyrants, Death; and to bestow honors on a ransomed race, bright as the throne of God and lasting as the ages of eternity" (Millennial Harbinger January, 1844).

- From the Internet; via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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Christmas Gift
 
   A man purchased his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas.  His friend said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4 wheel drive vehicles."
   "She did," he replied.  "But where could I ever find a fake Jeep?"
 
- via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com


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A New Beginning

    The old year is behind us. Forever! Some things God gives often, but He gives us time only once. The flowers of spring return again and again. The trees burst into a new foliage year after year. But time does not come twice to anyone. We enter into the New Year with high hopes. Every new year holds a brighter hope than the last, and we are ever ready to shake off bad habits and to give life a new start and a new effort. Such thinking has possibilities, for every improvement begins with a thought. This was the power that turned the feet of the ancient Psalmist who said, “I thought about my ways, and turned my feet to Your testimonies” (Psalm 119:59). The trouble has been we have allowed conflicting thoughts to grab us and change the direction of our feet.
    So our first resolution is to keep our thoughts working for us. No person is better, bigger or stronger than his or her thoughts.  Second, let us be grateful for the many blessings of last year. We are not worthy of more if we are grateful for what we have. Third, may we determine to be sympathetic toward all less fortunate person that ourselves. Having a heart is a big accomplishment. Fourth, let us resolve to place the best reasonable construction on the words and deeds of others. Fifth, let us build life on the good foundation of loving God and our fellow men.

- Copied; via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Calvert City church of Christ, Calvert City, KY.  Lance Cordle preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com


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Hearts of Gold - poetry
      Cleaning House For 2011

Last Week I threw out WORRYING,
It was getting old and in the way.
It kept me from being me,
I couldn't do things my way.

I threw out those inhibitions,
They were just crowding me out.
Made room for my New Growth,
Got rid of my old dreams and doubts.

I threw out a book on MY PAST
(didn't have time to read it anyway).
Replaced it with New Goals,
Started reading it today.

I threw out childhood toys
(remember how I treasured them so)?
Got me a NEW PHILOSOPHY too,
Threw out the one from long ago.

Bought in some new books too,
Called I CAN, I WILL, and I MUST.
Threw out I might, I think and I ought.
WOW, You should've seen the dust.

I ran across an OLD FRIEND,
Haven't seen him in a while.
I believe his name is GOD,
Yes, I really like His style.

He helped me to do some cleaning
And added some thing's Himself.
Like PRAYER, HOPE and FAITH,
Yes I placed them right on the shelf.

I picked up this special thing
And placed it at the front door.
I FOUND IT - its called PEACE.
Nothing gets me down anymore.

Yes, I've got my house looking nice.
Looks good around the place.
For things like Worry and Trouble
There just isn't any place.

It's good to do a little house cleaning,
Get rid of the old things on the shelf.
It sure makes things brighter,
Maybe you should TRY IT YOURSELF.

- Author Unknown; via The Lantern, Highway church of Christ, Sullivan, IL  Visit their website as http://www.highwaycofc.com


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              Take Time
 
Take time to think…
It is the source of power
Take time to play…
It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read…
It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to pray…
It is the greatest power on earth.
Take time to love and be loved…
It is a God-given privilege.
Take time to be friendly…
It is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh…
It is the music of the soul.
Take time to give…
It is too short a day to be selfish.
Take time to work…
It is the price of success.
Take time to show appreciation…
It is the frosting on the cake of life.
Take time to dream…
It is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to be charitable…
It is the key to heaven.
 
- via The Contender, the weekly bulletin published by the Walnut Grove church of Christ in Benton, KY.  Kevin Williams preaches for the congregation.  He may be contacted through the church's website: http://walnutgrovechurchofchrist.org/


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     We Welcome You with Wide Arms
             By J. Randal Matheny

We welcome you with wide arms, New Year,
That turns by Brasilia time to us,
Through air cooled by the evening rain,
To mute the party’s midnight toast.

Our sons and daughters sailed tonight,
On the waning light of winding hours;
We hail with quiet heart your coming,
And beseech our children’s safe arrival.

So enter, New Year, our empty house,
And cheer our souls with choicest dreams
Of Kingdom plans and cordial successes,
Of ancient odes, eternal ages.

Come, young New Year, to us of yore,
The times have left us tired and worn;
Renew our faith, ignite our hope,
Your whited page will whet our thirst

To write of justice, righteous judgments,
And mercy’s gift to remove all sin,
To speak of heaven’s speedy promise,
To save a soul when Christ descends.


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              But Once A Year
           By J. Randal Matheny

Suppose we saw the stars but once a year,
How would we look upon them, with what eyes?
For hours and hours would we not gaze and peer,
To penetrate the mystery of the skies?

But every night their silent coldness bears
A faithful witness, shines its flickering light;
But little do we see, what sight impairs,
To feel the shimmering wonder of the night.

- Both of the poems above were penned by J. Randal Matheny, who edits and writes UPLift, an inspirational ezine. He may be contacted here: <http://randalmathenycom/>. When reprinting this material, please include the following: 
Copyright (c) 2010 J. Randal Matheny
All rights reserved. You may forward the
email to friends as is. You may not alter
it in any way or remove any text or
attributions.


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Gold Mines ---- quotes, sayings & sign messages
LIFE is like a coin.  You can spend it any way you wish—but you can only spend it once.

No matter what a man’s past may have been, his future is spotless. (John R. Rice)

Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time.  For that’s the stuff life is made of. (Benjamin Franklin)

Time wasted is existence; used, it is life.

 - via THE SOWER, a weekly publication of the Arthur church of Christ, Arthur, IL. Ron Bartanen, who serves as minister and editor, may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.arthurchurchofchrist.com

What the new year brings to you will depend in part on what you bring to the new year.
 
Do not let the new year bring you a fresh start on your same old habits.

- via The Encourager, the weekly bulletin for the Dongola church of Christ, Dongola, IL.  Gerald Cowan serves the congregation as minister.  He may be contacted at Geraldcowan1931@aol.com


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BulletinGold Extra ---- recent postings on our Blogsite
“Precious Memories” by Kyle Moses
What You Preach
Reminders
Today and Every Day, by Diana Sue Lindley
Thinking and Thandsgiving, bY Bob Spurlin
The First Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Poem, by Alexander Pope
Thanksgiving Poem, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today
Noel Smith, gratitude quote
Today, by Micheal Dubina
Another Thanksgiving Poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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