While we associate Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Native Americans, it was Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a national holiday in the midst of the Civil War. Our country was fractured, yet in his October 3, 1863 proclamation, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. Not only that, he asked for prayers for “the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
Our recent election has aggravated and exposed many divisions that have been simmering below the surface in the United States. Like it or not, the nation is divided now. We can shake our heads and complain about the division or, on the occasion of Thanksgiving, we can offer both thanks to God for our blessings and also prayers for reconciliation, as President Lincoln suggested. We can join in the process of reconciliation, in pursuit of unity.
We who follow Jesus ought to be experts on this topic, because our leader is the great reconciler.