Our family is so thankful today for God's provision of grace, mercy, salvation, and all things. As we read President Abraham Lincoln's proclamation from 1863 this morning it was painfully evident that it is near impossible to imagine ANY president of ANY party saying ANYTHING so clearly as it pertains to God being our provider and the reason to give thanks and to pray. What do you think?
From Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation:
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God."
He goes on to say,
"No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice but he whole American People."
Lincoln believed that the Civil war was a judgment from God for the sin of forgetting HIM in the development of this great nation. In an earlier proclamation (April of the same year) he said the following:
"Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation." (I'm trying to imagine our Senate today asking the president to set apart such a day)
Lincoln continues in his call to the nation to pray (April 1863)...
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all those blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!"
Now, returning to the Lincoln Thanksgiving proclamation of that same year:
"I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United states ... to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union."
Our prayer is that we, in our eating, watching football, enjoying family, and yes, even for some, shopping this day, take SOME time to humbly pray and thank God for HIS goodness. To acknowledge the brokenness and sin(s) of our own NATION, and may we genuinely make this a day of THANKSGIVING to GOD for all HE is and all HE has done.
May you and yours experience the heart of Thanksgiving today, and be BLESSED! Pastor Kevin