As the cold northern winds blow through the darkened gray skies, we see the leaves on the trees begin to turn color and fall to the ground, and we know winter is just around the corner. While some look forward to the colder weather and the snow that will soon arrive, most of us shudder with what impending doom (Okay, that’s a little dramatic but you get my point.) in these days without the sunshine and warmth of the summer. It's hard not to feel a little depression as you make your way through these days without sunlight, and harder still. trying to be thankful.
Despite November’s depressing gray clothing, I believe this month is the perfect time of year to give thanks to our Creator for all the blessings it bestows upon us, not only every day but throughout our lives.
Now, I am not just talking about a turkey dinner and a football game with relatives you see three times a year. Or the lame game of round robin , “What are you thankful for”, as you pass the mashed potatoes and you say something just to appease Aunt Mildred. I mean real thanks. If you think about it, November is almost like the Grand Architect’s “reset button”.
As the things that began to come to life in the beginning of the year and gain maturity through the summer months will now begin to whither and eventually die in the darkness of the winter time. It could be argued that the seasons are emblematic to the degrees of Freemasonry.
As we advance through the degrees we are told (in some jurisdictions) that the Entered Apprentice degree is like a man’s youth, the Fellowcraft degree is like adulthood and the Master Mason degree is compared to a man’s old age or maturity. As the seasons process through their cycle so does a man until he is called by his Creator. I feel in a way that the darkened days filled with coldness have been given to us in order to give us time to stop and reflect on all the good things we have in our lives and as a reminder to thank our creator for the bountiful life he has provided for us.
Most of us have many reasons to give thanks to the Grand Master of the Universe. Family, friends, your health. A happy, contented life are all good reasons to give thanks to the man upstairs for the blessings it has bestowed upon us.
Sadly, not all of us have been as fortunate as others. Some of you who are standing upon the darkened square may not believe you have anything to give thanks for. I truly understand that. I have been there. My sarcastic nature in the bad times seemed to dwell on all the things I didn’t have, instead of what I possessed. It’s natural to be like that.
The death of a family member, the loss of a job, a divorcee. So many things can lead you down this dark, gray path and it is easier and natural to think abut what you don’t have instead of the blessings you were given, but I like to think that the “reset button” of the coming winter can also be looked at as the start of a new year and the possibility of a better year to come.
So many new things seem to begin this time of year. In many jurisdictions, they begin a new Masonic year and the change of the leadership within many Masonic bodies symbolizes a new beginning and a new leadership, and possibly a better direction for some groups.
While we as a Fraternity continue to struggle, I give thanks that Freemasonry is still alive, long after many of those who tried to write its obituary have passed on. It may not be perfect, and we still have a lot of work left to do in order to sure up its foundation and place the Craft on a strong level footing, but I am thankful it is still here and it continues to inspire new generations of men who walk down that level of time trying to make themselves better men.
I am also thankful for all the Brethren who read and share our work with their friends and Brothers. I especially am thankful to those who write and call me, expressing their gratitude for the essays myself and other members of the Midnight Freemasons have put out. I want you to know all the kind words and support we receive, inspires us to continue what we are doing, especially since the positive feedback is much greater than the negative.
Brethren, I hope you will pause during this busy month and stop and reflect on what life has given to you and give thanks to the Creator for the blessings you have received, and maybe even show your gratitude to him by taking a Brother or his widow who may be less fortunate than you by the hand and help them make their life a little brighter. Who knows, you might be their reason to give thanks.
WB Bill Hosler was made a Master Mason in 2002 in Three Rivers Lodge #733 in Indiana. He served as Worshipful Master in 2007 and became a member of the internet committee for Indiana's Grand Lodge. Bill is currently a member of Roff Lodge No. 169 in Roff Oklahoma and Lebanon Lodge No. 837 in Frisco,Texas. Bill is also a member of the Valley of Fort Wayne Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in Indiana. A typical active Freemason, Bill also served as the High Priest of Fort Wayne's Chapter of the York Rite No. 19 and was commander of of the Fort Wayne Commandery No. 4 of the Knight Templar. During all this he also served as the webmaster and magazine editor for the Mizpah Shrine in Fort Wayne Indiana.