In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation “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.”
Counting an abundance of blessings, Lincoln said “it has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”
In a nation then four score and seven years old, he saw beyond the dark uncertainties of the moment and into a glorious future: “The country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.”
Alongside this gratitude and optimism came a plea for prayer, that Americans “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation.”
Whatever the divisions, hardships, and uncertainties of the moment, there is much to be thankful for and much to be hopeful about. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.