Praise the LORD! Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psalm 106:1)
The recent election has once again brought into stark focus the divisions that exist in our country. Roughly half of the electorate backed one candidate and the other half, the other; reaction to Mr. Trump’s electoral victory has been intense, passionate, and at times, violent. The rifts run deep. Disunity rules the day. It seems that our nation is more divided than it’s ever been.
But a century and a half ago, a Presidential election led to outright rebellion. Eleven states seceded from the Union, convinced that the election of Abraham Lincoln threatened their way of life. Over 600,000 American soldiers - from both sides - lost their lives in the ensuing conflict. In the midst of this great Civil War, President Lincoln issued several proclamations declaring a day of national thanksgiving, establishing the holiday we still celebrate. Here’s an excerpt from his 1864 proclamation:
“Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”
It seems to me that we would do well to heed Mr. Lincoln’s admonitions in the midst of our own national crisis. Let’s thankfully praise our Creator and Sustainer. Let’s humbly repent of our sins and shortcomings. And let’s fervently pray for peace and unity in this, our beloved land.