Thursday, November 26, 2015

How Lincoln Made Thanksgiving a National Holiday - STEVE STRANG CHARISMA MAGAZINE

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth (Portrait by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914)

How Lincoln Made Thanksgiving a National Holiday




Thanksgiving is the great American holiday that people of all religions embrace as their own. It is a tradition that hearkens back, of course, to the early Puritan fathers who thanked God for helping them survive in this new world. It was not, as some politically correct people would have us believe, to thank the Indians for their help. The Puritans were thanking Almighty God—as we should be doing ourselves.
Thanksgiving only became a national holiday in 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation reprinted below. Until then, various states had Thanksgiving on different days.
In 1861, Lincoln ordered government departments closed for a local day of Thanksgiving. On Sept. 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote to Lincoln urging him to have the "day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival." She explained, "You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving ... become permanently an American custom and institution."
George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of Thanksgiving, issuing his request on Oct. 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln's.
The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise." As we celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends, let's reflect on these words from one of America's greatest presidents at the height of the Civil War.

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.
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 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 unequaled 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 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 battle-field; 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, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United 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 Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Steve Strang is the founder of Charisma and CEO of Charisma Media. Follow him onTwitter or Facebook.
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Thanks for sharing. Blessings on your head from the Lord Jesus, Yeshua HaMashiach.

Steve Martin
Founder/President
Love For His People
Charlotte, NC USA