Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanks Giving

I re-read Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation two weeks ago.  Reading this proclamation gives a different perspective on our celebration of this day.  We are scaling back our feast, including more giving of our time, talent and treasures to our community and focusing on our many blessings.

I wish you all a wonderful day of thanks giving
(with a little turkey and cranberries on the side).

Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation

The year that is drawing towards its close has been filled with 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 soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.  In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.  Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.  Population had steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

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 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 and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in 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, tranquility and Union.
-- Abraham Lincoln

In addition to being floored by the sentiments expressed by Lincoln in this proclamation, I am truly awed by Lincoln's use of the English language. When (and why) did we loose the ability to speak so eloquently?

Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name; make kown among the peoples his deeds!
Psalm 105:1

Therefore, we who are receiving the unshakeable kingdom should have gratitude, with which we should offer worship pleasing to God in reverence and awe.
Hebrews 12:28

. . . and say on that day:
Give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name;
among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.
Sing praise to the Lord; for his glorious achievement;
let this be known throught all the earth.
Isaiah 12:4 - 5

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you . . .
Philippians 1:3

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, your wonders of old I will remember.
I will recite all your works; your exploits I will tell.
Your way, O God, is holy; what god is as great as our God?
You alone are the God who did wonders; among the peoples you revealed your might.
With your arm you redeemed your people.
Psalm 77:12 - 16

I thank you, Lord, with all my hear; before the gods to you I sing. 
I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise your name for your fidelity and love. 
For you have exalted over all your name and your promise.
Psalm 138: 1-2

Those who offer praise as a sacrifice (of thanksgiving ) honor me;
to the obedient I will show the salvation of God.
Psalm 50:23
So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6 -7