If you go back into history 151 years, it’s the height of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln is President. If a state wanted to observe a Thanksgiving holiday, the state scheduled a day to do that. Lincoln’s Proclamation in 1863, however, established one national holiday for all states to give thanks.
From his Proclamation:
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.
Aren’t much of his words applicable to our country today — 151 years hence?
In light of this national holiday, much of our focus in recent Kids Club and Teen Night programs has been on thankfulness.
AJ led a lesson at Aim Right North encouraging kids not to just be “I” focused and selfish, but to be grateful and willing to help others.
Caleb shared the story of the 10 lepers with teens and challenged them with these questions: Are we sincere when we give thanks? Do we even show any thanks? Do we go the extra mile?
Yesterday evening, teens gathered for a cookout and games and shared what they were thankful for. I’m not sure I heard “my phone” or “Facebook” mentioned once, but overwhelmingly this one: “my family and my friends.”