Happy Thanksgiving!

This a busy family day for many, and I want to thank you for spending time with me on this important day. If you’re the cook, take a breather and have a cup of tea with me – or, even better, a glass of sweet tea! If you’re the ballgame watcher, turn off the tube for a minute and join me around the “remembering” table.

You can thank Sarah Josepha Hale, if you have a day off work today. For 36 years, Mrs. Hale, the author of “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” advocated for a national holiday set aside to offer thanks to God. After writing the President imploring him to declare a day of thanksgiving, Abraham Lincoln issued the following proclamation on October 3, 1863: 

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, … to set apart and observe the last Thursday 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, … 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 Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

Over 150 years later, those words still ring true – we are still a country that needs to be reminded to give thanks to the “beneficent Father” and to ask for His “Almighty Hand” to heal the wounds of our nation. The intent of the proclamation might be considered a combination of two familiar Scriptures written centuries before:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

“… in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Father, thank you for this moment away from the busyness of Thanksgiving Day – a moment to remember, a moment to be thankful, and, above all, a historic reminder to turn to You in our time of need -- with hearts of gratitude filled with hope for the peace that only comes through You. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving! 

By Judy Shrout

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