This unusual year there may be more than a few who are struggling to find something to be thankful for. I want to remember that the proclamation that was made by Abraham Lincoln for a national day of Thanksgiving, was written to a nation in the midst of a civil war. As the country was being asked to be thankful thousands were dying on the battlefields to help right the wrongs of slavery. The proclamation to the warring nation was as follows:
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. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled 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 theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; … 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. … 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 … 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 …
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
October 3, 1863
COVID has brought to our world a great deal of suffering. It is also true today that we Americans still struggle against a “national perverseness and disobedience”. We have yet to fully recognize that, “all men are created equal”.
Yet we have a great deal to be thankful for this season. God is on His throne and loves His children no matter how broken we may be. People are still sinners, but grace is still on offer from God. Make no mistake, we are ALL sinners saved by grace!
Let’s not miss the chance to count our blessings because in act of counting we may well find reasons for thanks.