It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with his guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad, and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their campus, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, he has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions.
Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
In testimony where of, I have here unto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this twentieth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-four, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.
There lives in those words a lot of relevance to our nation’s circumstances today. Of even more enduring relevance, the opening of the 107th Psalm, from the New American Standard Bible:
1Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
2Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
3And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
4They wandered in the wilderness in a desert region;
They did not find a way to an inhabited city.
5They were hungry and thirsty;
Their soul fainted within them.
6Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble;
He delivered them out of their distresses.
7He led them also by a straight way,
To go to an inhabited city.
8Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!
9For He has satisfied the thirsty soul,
And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.
May you see afresh the LORD’s lovingkindess in your life. May the LORD bless you with a grateful heart during this Thanksgiving holiday, a grateful heart that lives on throughout the year. Peace and blessings to you and yours – and save some turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing leftovers for me!