Today’s news is full of every imaginable form of depravity and perversion. Devastating natural disasters. Catastrophic threats of global annulation. And much more. This is not new. All who have preceded us experienced similar adversities. Often worse than ours.
In 1723 the New England Colonies were attacked by the “rage and fury” of native American Indians, the ravages of contagious diseases and the “rapacious and bloody Pirates” on the sea coasts. Yet they set aside a day to give God thanks for “our invaluable privileges”, being “restored to health” the “great plenty of the fruits of the earth”. And “above all that He continues to give us the precious benefits and liberties of the Gospel.
In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26, as a national “day of public thanksgiving and prayer” in response to the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional
In 1863 Lincoln proclaimed that “the nation will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, 1863.” This was issued immediately after “a civil war of unequalled magnitude” in which 620,000 men died in battle or from disease. “Notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; 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, 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.”
Giving thanks is not just a religious concept, it is our shared American history. While you are enjoying your stuffed turkey, pumpkin pie, and time with family and friends, also remember to give thanks for all your struggles and trials.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thess 5:18
For history buffs…you can read all the original proclamations by following this web link: http://www.pilgrimhallmuseum.org/thanksgiving_proclamations.htm