Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day (October 3rd, 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.

A. Lincoln

It seems that the origin of Thanksgiving in this country [in these "United" States] was wrought in the desire to rest from war and conflict. This Thanksgiving, pray for peace. Each of us have known, know conflict. Wars are not limited to battle fields. More often than not, they tend to find their way into our homes, our communities and hearts and minds. This Thanksgiving, pray for peace ~ your peace and your neighbors peace. And pray we all receive our peace straight from the King of peace ~ our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Happy Thanksgiving! 



  1. Hey Josh, thanks for sharing this story with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  2. God's continued blessings upon you Brother Josh. I am thankful for the Bible, which shows us profound proofs of God's love for us, who Jesus is for us and who we are in Him.
    Mrs. Ann Cantrell

  3. Josh, thank you for finding this proclamation and sharing it with all of us. It is very moving.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  4. I'm thankful for people who are able to recognize God's blessings and provisions, even in the middle of strife and conflict. May we remember everyday all that He has given us.

  5. Thank you Josh for reminding us that Thanksgiving is more than food and football.

    Hope your Thanksgiving was Blessed with friends and family.

    Janice Arlt

  6. Hey Josh - I read this proclamation and your comments with interest. Mr. Lincoln was a great man who demonstrated giving thanks to the Lord at all times, even in the midst of powerful struggles.
    Randy Hodill

  7. Hi Josh...Enjoyed reading this proclamation...It's unfortunate in today's day and age that although we have freedom of speech, people/groups are trying to keep Christ out of Christmas and basically God out of everything...People should worry about themselves and not be so concerned about things such as this...I continue to wish you the best in your life and hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas.

  8. How precious to hear the leader of the most powerful country in the world, speak so humbly of his confidence in God. He doesn't boast of how his own plans worked good for the nation, but of the glory of our sovereign Lord and how His mercy has blessed our nation. No political agenda. Just a thankful heart. Thanks for sharing this Josh.

  9. Hey Josh,
    Thanks for this reminder to purposefully look for and count our blessings, even when life is less than perfect. If we wait for everything to be perfect before we rejoice, it will never happen! I needed to hear that today.

    - Debbie