Thanksgiving proclamation still speaks to all Americans

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2010

Timeless words were written by the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln – the most familiar being the Gettysburg Address.  But he penned a proclamation in October 1863 that set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving.

He wrote, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields…(but) we are prone to forget the source from which they come…No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.

“They are the gracious gifts from 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 American People.”

President Lincoln invited fellow citizens in every part of the United States and those at sea or in foreign lands to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise.

Now, 147 years later, this Thanksgiving finds our armed forces fighting for our freedoms in faraway places like Iraq and Afghanistan. We are in a war against terrorists who brutally attacked our country nine years ago and keep trying to find ways of attacking us. But we are still a blessed nation.

Consider these facts.

If you can go to church with no fear of humiliation, jail, being tortured or killed, then you’re better off than 3 billion people in the world. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes in your closet, a roof over your head and somewhere to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the world’s population.

If you have money in a bank or in your wallet, you are among the richest 8 percent of people in the world. If you can read, you are better off than 70 percent of the rest of the world. If you woke up this morning more healthy than ill, you are blessed above millions of people that will not survive the week.

Yes, Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation still speaks to America today, including a sentence in his last paragraph. Lincoln recommended that while people were offering up praise justly due to God for His blessings that they do so “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience.”

Our country has legalized the killing of unborn children and called it choice. We have polluted our society with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We’ve removed prayer, and the Ten Commandments from many public places and called it separation of church and state.

Yet, do we live what we say we believe? Now, marriage, which God created for a man and woman when time began, is under assault.

The Bible reminds us, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.  Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Psalm 33:12, Proverbs 14:34) In the words of James Madison, “The future and success of America is not in this constitution, but in the laws of God upon which this constitution is founded.

Let us pray that this nation under God will never perish from the earth.