Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The American History of Thanksgiving Depicts a Nation Honoring God: A Treasured Moments Holiday Edition

United States history clearly depicts the important role God and Christian faith have played in the formation of America as one nation under God. Thanksgiving was originally declared a holiday by two prominent Presidents in American history as days set aside for the sole purpose of giving thanks to God for His bountiful blessings and undeserved mercies.

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington
issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789, a holiday of thanksgiving. The proclamation states, "Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor...a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness."(President Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation)

On October 3, 1863, several months after the bloody Civil War battle at Gettysburg, PA, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that declares Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday of each year. "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 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. 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..." (President Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation)

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:8-9

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