by Barbara Latta
When the Thanksgiving holiday comes around every year, we think of turkeys, Pilgrims, and football. We reflect on the feast the first settlers shared with their Native American friends, but do you know when it became an official national holiday?
Many years after the 1620 settlers gave thanks to God for his protection and bountiful harvest, pastors, leaders, governors and presidents called for a day set aside to give thanks. But it took over two decades of persuasion from Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, to get a president to proclaim a national holiday to be celebrated annually. In 1863, President Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Each year thereafter, the holiday was recognized, although the dates varied. Finally in 1941, Congress established the last Thursday of November to be the official Thanksgiving Day.
A lot of things are going on in the world and in our country today that are disastrous and lacking any recognition of God. However, we still have much to be thankful for. We can take a lesson from Abraham Lincoln who made the following statement in his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863:
The year that is drawing toward 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 can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . 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 was only three months before he made this speech that Lincoln stood at the graves of Gettsyburg, where thousands lay buried. It was here in the midst of a war, a severe trial of faith, that this president became a Christian. He made this proclamation during the worst time in American history giving thanks to God for blessing the nation.
Can we do any less? We have trials now. Decisions are being made that affect us all in negative ways, and God’s foundations are ridiculed by government leaders. However, America is still a great nation only because God has so blessed us. We can continue to be a light to the rest of the world.
We need to be thankful in the midst of the storm of politics, rhetoric, and scandal. Because we are still America the beautiful and America the blessed.
I am thankful for my God, my family, my freedom, my rights, my home, and my health. I am thankful for our military and civilian protection, my friends, my church, my talents, and my abilities.
And I am thankful to you, the reader of this blog, for your participation and input.
I would love for you to share some things you are thankful for.