November 26, 2015, San Diego- Every so often, the American Thanksgiving conflates with other occasions of import. In 2013, for example, Thanksgiving and my 63rd birthday occurred on the same day. 😀
On other years, such as this one, we Baha’is observe the Day of the Covenant, along with Thanksgiving. The former is a celebration of the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, eldest son of Baha’u’llah, and His immediate successor as Head of the Baha’i Faith. It is so named because ‘Abdu’l-Baha stressed loyalty and obedience to the written Will and Testament of His Father, a document entitled Kitab-i-Ahd, or Book of the Covenant, over loyalty and obedience to a given human being. This aspect of our Faith has proven its worth, time and again.
Mirza Abbas Effendi-e- Nuri was born on May 23, 1844. As he was coming into the world, His Father’s Herald, al-Bab, was proclaiming His own Message to humanity: It was coming time for all mankind to unite, and He was to prepare the human race for One Who would show the way that this could be done. Abbas Effendi was given the title, ‘Abdu’l-Baha (Servant of Light), when He was nine years old, and was the first to recognize His Father’s station, as the Messenger of God for this day and age.
‘Abdu’l-Baha forbade celebrations of His birthday on May 23, but reluctantly agreed to observances that celebrated His life, while focusing on the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, the promulgation of which was ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s prmary focus, during His twenty-nine years as Head of the Baha’i Faith. Thus, each November 26 has been dedicated to that purpose.
So, on this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for having been guided to this spiritual path, and to the perfect example set by ‘Abdu’l-Baha. His are larger shoes than any of us can hope to fill, but it is worth the effort, for the sake of developing and strengthening our virtues. They guided me to my marriage, to the birth and raising of our son, in whose company I celebrated another marvelous Day of Thanks and to the various friends and places of joy which I have been fortunate to meet and see, over the past thirty-four years.