The First Presidential Proclamation by George Washington, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God …”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people … and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. …
The people of our nation will gather around tables this Thursday to eat turkey and stuffing, to tell stories and talk football, and, to devise strategies for Black Friday shopping excursions.
My hope and prayer is that we will not forget what Thanksgiving Day originally was meant to be – a day of acknowledging God and thanking Him for the blessings He has granted us. It is because of God that we have food. It is because of God that we have family. It is because of God that we have leisure. It is because of God that we have Christmas!
Here are some ways to keep “Thanking God” at the forefront of our holiday this Thursday:
- Pray a personal prayer of thanks for all that you have received this year. Thank Him for family and friends, for responsibility and opportunities to serve, for church family and mentors, for days of joy and for days of trial. We learn about God and ourselves in all circumstances and should be grateful for everything that draws us close to Him.
- Sign on to the blog: The Thankfulness Experiment and share some of your specific “thanks”.
- At your Thanksgiving Table, have each person share one thing for which he or she is thankful. Start with the youngest at the table sharing first, with the eldest sharing last.
- Pray together as family and friends. Pray for our country, for freedom, for our President and government leaders. Pray for your church, your pastors and leaders, and for your church family. Pray for family. Pray for friends. Pray for those who do not have a table that even closely resembles your own.
- Send a personal note, an email, a text or a tweet of thanks to at least one person who has made a positive impact in your life this year, thanking him for the effort.
Giving thanks is personal. It’s powerful. It’s special. And, it makes a difference. Remember who is ultimately responsible for it all – the Lord God Almighty.