Celebrating and sharing the bountiful harvest with a grateful heart.
Before it was a national holiday proclaimed by President Lincoln during the Civil War, the first formal proclamation of Thanksgiving came November 26, 1789 from then President George Washington.
And during President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, it was no Norman Rockwell holiday painting. President Lincoln’s proclamation was an attempt to unify the two fighting sides. His famous Thanksgiving Proclamation can be read at the end of this blog.
It has been a very difficult year for a good many of my friends and colleagues. If you listen to the some of the news, you would think neighbors are waging war against with neighbors. I just visited the Ford Theater Museum in Washington, DC, and was struck by how many similarities there are in history and today.
Long gone are the days of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Hate speech seems to be an acceptable norm. That rhetoric is toxic, disruptive and not becoming of a nation that has so much more to offer.
It has truly been a year of distractions. We have to do better.
YET, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Every year, it comes without fail, the last Thursday of the month. Whether we truly celebrate it with grateful hearts is up to each of us.
Perhaps we all need to be reminded of the blessings in our lives, to be truly grateful.
But, what is our everyday life harvesting? What are our words and actions harvesting?
I am beyond blessed to work in an industry with such amazing people: doctors, practice team members, fellow speakers, fellow consultants, et al.
I love helping others figure out the business flow of their practice. I love being the voice of calm, digging deep into an embezzlement, pulling the pieces together. I love speaking truth to an audience with responsive ears. I love all the notes, emails and words of encouragement from their grateful hearts.
My constant daily prayer is that the Lord gives me wisdom and knowledge for every step and every breath I take. I am so truly grateful.
Celebrating and sharing the bountiful harvest with a grateful heart.
When you read President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, you hear his heart. In many ways, it is a prayerful appeal to the nation.
Allow me to set the stage for President Lincoln’s proclamation. The first shots fired in the civil war were from Confederate soldiers with 50 cannons at Fort Sumter, April 12, 1861.
The bloody war was in full throttle by 1863.
January 1863, President Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation, decreeing that all persons held in bondage in the Confederate South were free.
February 1863, President Lincoln signed The National Currency Act into law, creating a national banking system.
April 1863, the Confederate Senate passed a “tax-in-kind” plan that required 10% of everything produced or grown to be given to the Confederate government.
July 1863 held the three bloodiest days in the civil war. The battle of Vicksburg ended with the Union taking this Confederate stronghold. It took 8 months to gain control. The battle for Gettysburg ended after almost two long months of heavy casualties. President Lincoln felt the burden of leading a country where lives were lost and hate was rampant.
July 10, 1863, my 2nd Great-Grandfather, James C. Kendrick, died from the wounds he suffered at the Battle of Vicksburg.
August 1863, President Lincoln met with Frederick Douglass, a former slave and abolitionist. Douglass was considered a consultant to President Lincoln and was a well-respected speaker. Also, the rebuilt Ford’s Theater reopened after being damaged from a fire.
September 20, 1863 two bloody days of war left 1657 Union soldiers dead, 9756 wounded and 4757 missing, totaling a loss of 16,170 casualties. There were 2312 dead Confederate soldiers, 14,674 wound and 1468 missing, totaling a loss of 18,545 casualties.
Up to this point, states celebrated Thanksgiving at different times of the year. But in the midst of this horrible bloody year full of loss, while the civil war still raged on, President Lincoln called for a National Day of Thanksgiving.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
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. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. 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. 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.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Listen to his pleading heart throughout the proclamation. In spite of this proclamation and his appeal, the civil war would rage on for another 18 bloody months.
November 1863 President Lincoln attended the National Cemetery in Gettysburg dedication and gave a two minute speech. This was known as the Gettysburg Address.
December 9, 1863, US Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase recommended the words “In God We Trust” be added to the design of the new one, two and three penny coins.
May 7, 1864, 17,666 Union soldiers and 7750 Confederate soldiers were killed in another three day bloody battle in Virginia.
May 19, 1864, 18,399 Union soldiers and 9,000 Confederate soldiers were killed in another bloody battle in Virginia.
August 1, 1864, Levi Robbins Lawler, Sr., my 2nd Great Grandfather, died of his wounds suffered in the Battle of Atlanta.
April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House, Virginia.
April 14, 1865 President Lincoln was assassinated on Good Friday in Ford’s Theater in Washington DC.
May 12-May 13, 1865, the last shots were fired in the last battle of the civil war: the Battle of Palmito Ranch in Brownsville, Texas.
When studying the history of this war and reading the Thanksgiving Proclamation in light of the war’s time frame, it takes on a new richer meaning.
This Thanksgiving, let us recognize that the very blessings we enjoy are “the gracious gifts of the Most High God.” Let us also “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers” and “implore the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation.”