Washington, D.C.: “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens...to set apart...a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in the heavens.” — Abraham Lincoln
Those words were spoken in the middle of Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation on Oct. 3, 1863 while the country waged a horrific civil war. In light of the challenges we’ve been confronting and the accompanying rancor, this is the perfect time to revisit those wise and carefully chosen words.
As many of you know, I am a BIG fan of Lincoln. I’ve read every book about this great man I could lay my hands on, and each time I’m humbled and learn more about myself. I’m also, like many of you, a big fan of Thanksgiving. This has always been my family’s favorite holiday as it provides time to gather as a family and reflect on our blessings.
I’ve included Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in its entirety below. From my way of thinking, it should be required reading by every American every Thanksgiving. In particular, financial advisors should reflect on the lifestyle opportunities afforded to those who work hard, work smart, and who work to serve their clients.
October 3, 1863
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. 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, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 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 has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of 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, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
We are blessed to be Americans. And yes, we are blessed to be living in a country that has afforded so many wonderful opportunities. That said, I think it is important to revisit the birthing of our beloved Thanksgiving holiday.
If only we had Lincoln’s leadership and greatness to help us through our challenges of today. But if Father Abe was alive and coaching you, he’d likely tell you a story, share a humorous but poignant anecdote, interject his kindness, and tell you to take advantage of the opportunities of today.
If you would like a FREE copy of Matt's Recommended Reading List, which includes a few of his Abraham Lincoln favorites, visit our download center. Enjoy!
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