“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.” (Abraham Lincoln, 1863)
Here’s what I think he was saying: “We have been blessed this year in so many ways, that it is easy to take it all for granted and forget where all these blessings came from: God.” OK, fine, his had a nicer ring, I’ll admit.
The amazing thing is that he begins his Proclamation talking about all of these wonderful blessings in a year that was filled with pain, death, war, grief… yes, and some good things, too. If you were just living in America in 1863, you may not be feeling all that thankful that year. In spite of this, Mr. Lincoln issues his Proclamation that is full of things the nation has to be thankful for.
Here’s the lesson: Even in the most trying of times, we have much to be thankful for, and shame on us if we forget where these blessings came from. We should take the time each day to thank God for our blessings, lest we begin to think that we are doing OK without Him: that is the path to ruin.