Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day
October 3, 1863

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 defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had 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 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, tranquillity 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.

~Abraham Lincoln

How did this message get lost in my high school history books? I remember reading of pilgrims, indians, & plymouth... but most certainly not about God. Why were these extraordinary words of our founding father? I am a little dismayed by the fact that this particular aspect of the holiday Thanksgiving has been lost in a jumble of cutesy turkey decorations & children dressed up as pilgrims. I am glad it was brough to all's attention on COL by Fr. Z.

I hope many get to see & read this and are reminded of the true sentiment behind this day of giving thanks. As I gather around the table with my family tomorrow & over the weekend, I will keep this true meaning close to my heart. I will remember to thank God & be sure I am doing all I can to share my blessings with others.

~Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


Steve said...

Happy thanksgiving!

shussong said...

When I was stationed in Turkey with the US Air Force I lived in a little apartment with three others. We decided in September that we were going to treat our most kind Muslim landlords to a good ol-fashioned Thanksgiving dinner--keeping in mind to be sure to leave out anything even remotely resembling pork. So we ordered a turkey--very difficult to obtain--and wrote family members for recipes. Wow what a spread!! Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatos, cranberries, bread, pies, relishes, various vegetables, you name it. We explained the tradition to our landlord and his family, and they were absolutely flabbergasted that Americans would take one day out of the year, to feast on abundance and give thanks for for all the blessings that God has given us--even us who were far away from home and family, in a strange land, strange culture and even stranger religion. Our landlord said that he would start the tradition in his family. And a good time was had by all..