On Oct. 3, 1789, President George Washington made the following proclamation and created the United States' first official Thanksgiving Day.
“... 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 ..." he said.
Seventy-two years later, Abraham Lincoln permanently established the last Thursday of November for annually giving thanks to God.
“In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity … 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 …" he said.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that (the blessings all have received) should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people ... "
Washington wanted the nation to give thanks to God at the end of national strife. Lincoln wanted the nation to give thanks to God amid national strife.
Remember this: Whether at the beginning, middle or end of a difficult time, be thankful for what you have.
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview’s pastor.