Thanksgiving, as observed in our nation, is nothing like
Lincoln established on October 3, 1863. At that time we
were in the middle of the Civil War. We realized our dependence
on God, and our need for His blessings.
God is the Source of Our Blessings
President Lincoln established the last Thursday in November
as a day of thanksgiving. He dedicated this day to acknowledge
our blessings from God, so we don't forget the Source of
our blessings. Below is the first paragraph of Lincoln's
The year that is drawing toward its close has been
filled with the blessings of fruitful years 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 can not fail to penetrate and soften
even the heart which is habitually insensible to the
ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
Sadly, times have changed. As a "politically correct" nation,
Thanksgiving isn't a day in which we acknowledge God as
the Source of our blessings.
Listen to Lincoln: Our Blessings are Gifts From God
In the fourth paragraph of his Thanksgiving proclamation,
President Lincoln acknowledged that our blessings come from
the Most High God, as a result of His mercy.
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
Although Lincoln is recognized as one of our greatest presidents,
I wonder if he would be elected today.
Thanksgiving: Pray, Thankfully Praise God
The purpose of Thanksgiving is to "solemnly, reverently,
and gratefully" acknowledge God and His blessings. It's
"a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father"
who dwells in the heavens. The beginning of the fifth paragraph
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should
be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged,
as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American
people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in
every part of the United States, and also those who
are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands,
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.
The original intent of Thanksgiving was to reverently pray,
expressing thanks to God. It was much more than eating turkey
with the trimmings, and saying a generic prayer before eating.
Thanksgiving: Humble Penitence
Thanksgiving day is a day to pray, asking God to heal our
nation, so we receive "the full enjoyment of peace, harmony,
tranquility, and union."
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, tranquility, and union.
Lincoln intended Thanksgiving to be a day of "humble penitence
for our national perverseness and disobedience." It's a
day to confess our sins as a nation, asking God to forgive
us and heal us, "consistent with the Divine purposes, to
the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."
Wouldn't it be great if we observed Thanksgiving as Lincoln
prescribed? Wouldn't it be great if households paused to
acknowledge God's existence, His rule over us, our dependence
on Him, our transgressions against Him, and ask His forgiveness,
while beseeching Him for another year's blessings?
What is Thanksgiving to You?
Our nation has changed, rejecting God and denying His existence
more than offering the "ascriptions justly due to Him for
such singular deliverances and blessings."
But you still live in a free country. You can do the things
Lincoln intended, if you want. The choice is yours --- it's
your Thanksgiving! What is Thanksgiving to you?