The year was 1863. America was in the middle of an incredibly bloody civil war.
It was a war where the old style massed formations of men marched into the fields with the new repeating rifles to create death on an incredibly large scale.
That year included the battles of Chancelorsville, Vicksburg, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Secessionville, Chickamaunga, and Chattanooga.
The outcome of the war was very far from certain.
And it was into this uncertainty that the Union President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day. Here’s an excerpt:
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.
So in line with what Lincoln had in mind I thought I’d share a smattering of things I’m thankful for today.
- A morning when I could wake up after the sun rose without an alarm clock.
- A place to call home that is warm and dry
- A wife who loves me, has strengths where I’m weak, and is the ideal partner for my life
- More than ten years of freedom from the prison of alcohol addiction
- A friend who cared enough about me to introduce me to the person of Jesus Christ more than ten years ago
- Technology which allows me to build new friendships in far away places
- A couple of cats who are especially cuddly when it gets cold out
- Meaningful work to do that adds value to others
- More friends than I can count that I get to share this journey of life with
So my question to you is this. What are you thankful for today?
If you are here in the States I hope you have a wonderful and thankful holiday. And if you are somewhere else in the world I hope that you are able to take a moment and catalog some of the things that are worthy of your thankfulness.