“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.”


Reading this you might have a difficult time believing it came from President Lincoln during the Civil War, however, stick with me here.


“In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression…”


Often we believe that when giving thanks to God, we must only mention “good” things and ignore the “bad.”  It would seem we believe that it is disingenuous to give thanks with the one hand, while complaining with the other.  My parents call that a “left-handed compliment” – though I am not sure why the left hand is so bad.  I agree that hearing a complaint right after a compliment is not an effective means for communication thankfulness. I would also have to point out that the all-knowing God of the universe is well aware of what is going on inside your head and/or heart (and He still loves you!).


This is one of the reasons Lincoln has always impressed me.  He is NOT complaining, and he is not white-washing (to borrow a phrase from his time) either.  In fact, I believe that the most impressive part of this proclamation is in Lincoln pointing out that these are hard times for this nation – and yet, God is still blessing this nation richly.  We tend to be black or white;  “Oh God, everything is so GREAT!!” or “Oh God EVERYTHING is going wrong!!”  We are able to bring our concerns to God ALONG with our praises, without complaint, but also without guilt.


1 Peter 5:6-7 (ESV) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.


We can do both, because He knows it all.  Remember that though there is only one day set aside nationally for giving thanks, for a Christian, it is a full-time responsibility.


God is good!