Isn't it ironic that throughout history we give "Thanks" when we are in the deepest trouble? Perhaps it is because we take so much for granted. The Pilgrims were living in some of the harshest conditions imaginable when they celebrated their first Thanksgiving.
Abraham Lincoln initiated our Thanksgiving Day celebration in some of our country's darkest moments - the middle of the Civil War! Read his speech. It will make you think.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
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 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 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; the axe 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 heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; 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.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Some people view Thanksgiving as a secular holiday. I don't. The Pilgrims celebrated their harvest in the first Thanksgiving. Who, but the Almighty can you give "thanks" to for a successful harvest? Abraham Lincoln recognized God several times in his proclamation. I have been blessed with wonderful parents. Who do I thank for them? I have a wonderful wife and children that I am very proud of. Who do I thank for them? I do not have to worry about providing food or shelter for my family. Who, but God do I owe my thanks to? What are the odds that I would be born to wonderful parents in the greatest country in the world and provided the opportunity to pursue a dream with my daughter? Thank you God! I am sure all of us, even those of us who are in great despair have something to be thankful for. If you are struggling...Think of the difficulties the Pilgrims overcame. Think of the soldiers and hardship shared by many families during the Civil War. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Thank you readers.