“Give thanks for each new morning with its light: for rest and shelter of the night, for health and food, for heal and food, for love and friends, and for everything thy goodness sends.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s often said that gratefulness is the secret to happiness. I find that if I can spend a few minutes at the end of the day contemplating what I am thankful for, somehow going to sleep is just a little easier. Even if just for a day, Thanksgiving is a great start to the holidays. I wish you all a fantastic day with family and friends!
For those of you who don’t know a woman named Sarah Hale started a movement to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Sarah was a gifted writer, an advocate of women’s rights, and promoting the welfare of our nation (a person worth learning about when you have a moment). While various states had a Thanksgiving Day, there was no consistency and not a national day of celebration. Sarah recognizing the struggle and division across our country during the civil war appealed directly to Abraham Lincoln to canonize the holiday. After so many years of perseverance, Lincoln finally agreed to proclaim a national day of thanksgiving in an effort to try to heal the union.
Considering the divisions we are experiencing in our country today, I thought I’d share with you Lincoln’s proclamation declaring Thanksgiving a National Holiday:
“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 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, the 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 plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax 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. The 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 Highest 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, 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.”
-Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863
Even in the direst of circumstances, Lincoln was able to find reasons to be grateful and took the time to remind the Nation and all of us about what is important.
I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Let’s go be great!