In the course of considering what I might share with you as we celebrate Thanksgiving throughout our country I decided to do a little research on the history of this particular holiday. One of most interesting facts I came across was the thanksgiving proclamation made by the Continental-Confederation Congress and published in the “Independent Gazetteer;” or the “Chronicle of Freedom” on November 5, 1782; it reads:
By the United States in Congress assembled, PROCLAMATION.
It being the indispensable duty of all nations, not only to offer up their supplications to Almighty God, the giver of all good, for His gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner, to give Him praise for His goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of His Providence in their behalf; therefore, the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of Divine goodness to these States in the course of the important conflict, in which they have been so long engaged, – the present happy and promising state of public affairs, and the events of the war in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils which is so necessary to the success of the public cause, – the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them, – the success of the arms of the United States and those of their allies, – and the acknowledgment of their Independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States; Do hereby recommend it to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe and request the several states to interpose their authority, in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the TWENTY-EIGHTH DAY OF NOVEMBER next as a day of SOLEMNTHANKSGIVING to GOD for all His mercies; and they do further recommend to all ranks to testify their gratitude to God for His goodness by a cheerful obedience to His laws and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.
Done in Congress at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, in the year of our LORD, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, and of our Sovereignty and Independence, the seventh.
JOHN HANSON, President. CHARLES THOMSON, Secretary.
(The full transcript can be seen here: http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel04.html#obj110)
In our daily pursuits, and personally in my own, I too often forget of God’s goodness all around me. The good people of this county and state who dedicate themselves to raising families, ensuring commerce commences daily, providing safe streets and neighborhoods and the list goes on. For all of these individuals I am grateful and I thank my Lord and Savior for their dedication, vision and commitment.
On October 3, 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued Proclamation 106-Thanksgiving Day, 1863. It established Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday. He wrote in part: “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.” The full proclamation can be read: http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=69900
As I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family today, I too will praise and thank our Father in heaven for His goodness to me, and ask for His blessing upon this rich land of the mid-Willamette Valley and especially the citizens of Marion County.
November 27, 2014