I was reminded this year that Abraham Lincoln was the first American President to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. He did so in 1863, in the midst of a brutal war. He enjoined the American people to pause for two reasons.
Yes, to give thanks. To celebrate the goodness of their lives even in the midst of the hardship and suffering.
“with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to [God’s] 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.”
Give thanks. Pray with humility. Entrust the ones who are suffering to God’s tender care.
Tomorrow, do not simply eat, drink, and be merry. But remember the ones in need. Ask for healing for our nation. Engage with the brokenness of the world. And give thanks.
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