November 26 – 1863 = Lincoln proclaims Thanksgiving on Last Thursday in November
Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
In 1863 the United States was still embroiled in a Civil War. It had been an especially bloody and awful year for both sides. Yet, on October 3, 1863 Lincoln issued a proclamation that made the last Thursday in November every year to be a national day of Thanksgiving. Now America had celebrated days of thanks and even often Thanksgiving, but it was not a national holiday and some places held it on different days. Thirty states and territories all had official days for Thanksgiving, but Lincoln standardized it throughout the land. William Seward, the Secretary of State, wrote the declaration and it had been pushed by many people including a young woman named Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. So on November 26, 1863, the first National Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in America. And so it has continued as we still celebrate Thanksgiving every year. Let us not forget that we give thanks not in general, but to our triune God in particular.
Category: history devotional