The holiday season is upon us bringing us near the end of 2020. This has been a year of various hardships due to the Covid-19 pandemic, riots and destruction in many cities around the country, plus political turmoil and partisan rivalry. As the people of God, we have been praying for righteousness and peace; we have been petitioning God to show His mercy; we have been opposing the works of darkness. This year of 2020 has recruited the army of the Lord, and we have deployed into active duty.
I have been encouraged by the response of the Church to these days of hardships. We are engaged in prayer. We are attentive to the Word of the Lord for our nation and its citizens. We are believing God that His Kingdom continues to advance and that His enemies are defeated.
There have been other hard seasons and other tumultuous times in our history. This is not the first time that our nation has experienced division and factions among the citizens. Remember the civil war? During those days, the future of our land stood in the balance as the North fought against the South and brother took up arms against brother. Lest we think that there has never been as hard of times as these days, we need to recall our past. In doing so, we can frame our hardships in the context of victories God has given to our forefathers.
On Thanksgiving in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln released a proclamation in the midst of the Civil War. His words are worthy for us to re-release in the midst of our internal civil strife and division. I encourage you and your family to give a fresh breath to this timeless prayer and proclamation as you celebrate this Thanksgiving.
By the President of the United States A Proclamation:
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.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, 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 theater of military conflict; while that theater 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 defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has 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 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 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 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, tranquility, and union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed. Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth. Abraham Lincoln By the President: William H. Seward. Secretary of State