A National Day of Thanksgiving

monument_lincolnPlunged into civil war, the United States had fallen into dark days. Brother fought against brother. Blood stained battle fields dotted the landscape. Yet, on October 3, 1863 while enumerating the blessings of the year, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving. In a Proclamation sent to the people of the United States, Lincoln declared:

“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 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, 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 has 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 consiousness 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 one 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.”

No matter how dark our days or bleak our future, we have a loving Father keeping watch. Many nations around the world have national days of Thanksgiving. Families gather around tables, old and new, small and large to share in the bounty of the year, and to give thanks. We, like our fathers of old, despite hardships and sorrows, have much of which to be grateful. Let’s not forget this year or in any of the years that follow “the source from which [we] come”.  We can all be grateful. We can all give thanks. President Uchdorf reminds us that:

“We can choose to be grateful, no matter what. This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Diane Robertson

Diane Robertson

Diane Robertson is just a plain old ordinary person with nothing terribly special about her. She's a homeschooling mother blessed with 11 kids, Diane spends most days in yoga pants taking care of her children, teaching, cooking, and cleaning while never actually doing yoga. Motherhood has helped Diane develop a passion for protecting the family and children. She blogs about political family issues at unitedfamiliesinternational.wordpress.com and journals about her family at thoserobertsons.blogspot.com
Diane Robertson

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About Diane Robertson

Diane Robertson is just a plain old ordinary person with nothing terribly special about her. She's a homeschooling mother blessed with 11 kids, Diane spends most days in yoga pants taking care of her children, teaching, cooking, and cleaning while never actually doing yoga. Motherhood has helped Diane develop a passion for protecting the family and children. She blogs about political family issues at unitedfamiliesinternational.wordpress.com and journals about her family at thoserobertsons.blogspot.com

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