Our hope for you is that you enjoyed last week’s long Thanksgiving weekend. The events of the year have given me much opportunity to focus on what is wrong, or what I didn’t like about that year. Over the weekend, as I read and reflected, I was reminded about how intentional I have to be about gratefulness and thanksgiving.

The history of our Thanksgiving holiday? The “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in 1621, according to Edward Winslow’s account. The holiday was celebrated off and on from 1789, starting with a proclamation from George Washington. You can read the entire proclamation here.

The opening line is instructive. “Whereas 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– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. And in 1870, President U.S. Grant signed the Holidays Act which made Thanksgiving a federal holiday in D.C. since 1942, the Thanksgiving holiday has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Personally, I’m intrigued by both Washington and Lincoln’s words, in light of the fact that they have been held in high regard, as two of our best loved and most effective presidents.

What are the ten things you are grateful for this morning?

Until we see you again.