Proclamation Of Thanksgiving By the President of the United States of America
(Obviously not the one we have now!) Following is the 1863 Lincoln Presidential Proclamation celebrated shortly after Lincoln committed his life to Christ and celebrated while America was still in the midst of its Civil War. It was this proclamation which eventually led to the establishment of our national Thanksgiving holiday.
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 cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the field of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than theretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the.battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
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, 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.
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.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
[Signed] Abraham Lincoln
Thank you God for all the wonderful blessings, for our daily meals, for clean drinking water, for sunlight and for the cool breeze. I’m thankful for my family, my spouse, my friends, and my health. I’m thankful for my freedom, to be employed; I’m thankful to be alive and I praise you for all these wonders. I’m thankful that You have been so gracious to give Your only Son to us Who gave His life and bore the Unbearable for us sinners. On this Thanksgiving Day, I take the opportunity to give thanks for countless other things You provide us with on a daily basis. Amen!We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these 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! It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.
Our Nation’s motto
“Our Nation’s motto ‘In God We Trust’
— was not chosen lightly. It reflects a basic
recognition that there is a divine authority
in the universe to which this nation owes
homage. Throughout our history,
Americans have put their faith in God, and
no one can doubt that we have been blessed
for it. The earliest settlers of this land came
in search of religious freedom. … While
never willing to bow to a tyrant, our forefathers were always
willing to get to their knees before God.” [Ronald Reagan]