Americans trace Thanksgiving back to the year 1621. The nation began to celebrate the holiday regularly in 1863. Those two years, 1621 and 1863, were especially difficult ones in America – even more difficult than 2020. But the people rejoiced in God’s blessings, and so should we.
1863 was near the midway point of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln urged the nation to pause on the last November Thursday of that year, to remember God’s goodness and thank Him for His blessings. In his Thanksgiving proclamation, President Lincoln warned against complacency before God. He spoke of “fruitful fields and healthful skies… which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come.”
We have lived so long in a land of plenty that it would be easy for us to also forget “the Source from which” those blessings have come. The Thanksgiving holiday is designed to help us remember.
Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation gave an amazing list of ways God had blessed the United States even during that terrible war. He said those blessings were “of so extraordinary nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”
He went on to say, “No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Highest God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
Today, we can say the same thing. Despite the pestilence that engulfed the world this year, America continues to be blessed in an overwhelming number of ways. I’m especially thankful that Americans are still sending forth the Gospel of Jesus to the whole world. And we still have the freedom to preach the Gospel here, and countless men and women of God remain faithful to His word.
God is good… all the time!
I pray that you will have an especially rich and meaningful Thanksgiving this year. May you live in the abundance of God, and always remember to thank Him for that abundance.