October 3, 1863
A Proclamation by the President Abraham Lincoln
The year that is drawing toward 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 even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
One could argue that there were better years to focus on gratitude, but 1863 was the year President Lincoln chose to establish an enduring, annual national holiday for giving thanks. Why not wait until things got better and THEN create the holiday?
Of course, that was the point. Lincoln called a nation to focus on the present blessings even (especially?) in tumultuous times.
This seems like a good year to remember that even when surrounded by news of tragedy and uncertainty, it is good to give thanks for the many blessings around us- as well as their Source.
What are the blessings in your life this year? What are the “bounties” of our country that we are ‘prone to forget?’