Happy Thanksgiving! May God bless you richly today as we pause to express our gratitude for the benefits we’ve been afforded, as well as the challenges that have refined us.
We had several invites to spend Thanksgiving with local friends but figured we should hunker down and steer clear of the virus. We’re staying home and plan to video chat with our kids ad share the day virtually.
I got to thinking – beyond the traditional “what I’m thankful for” table conversation, what could we do to make the day a little more meaningful?
And here it is! This proclamation was issued by our first President, calling the new nation to a day of thankfulness for the opportunity to establish this new government in the new world. It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation that Thanksgiving became an annual event and a national holiday. Lincoln’s proclamation is the better known of the two (at least that has been my experience), so we’re reading Washington at our table before dinner this year. It is a beautiful reminder of our heritage and the call to thankfulness, no matter our circumstances. In these crazy times, when we are tempted to crawl in a hole and wait out the rest of 2020, might we look back at our heritage – and yes, even our year – and be grateful.
Don’t eat too much!
[New York; 3 October 1789]
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord..
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
– I Chronicles 16:34 (NIV)