Perspective: Blessings of Thanksgiving

“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 defense, 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, tranquility and Union.” — President Abraham Lincoln

After 150 years these words remain poignant, relevant, and applicable. God has blessed our nation far beyond what we deserve, and we all have much to be thankful for. Psalm 107:1 reminds each of us to ‘give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.’ The prayer or my heart is that each of us will spend time tomorrow and in the coming days and weeks counting the many blessings that we have and thanking God for them.

Even as many of us enter this season with very happy hearts, I know that for some of you this Thanksgiving will be difficult. It might be your first without a job, without a loved one, or away from home. I pray for each of you for whom this is the case, whether you are a Marine standing watch far away or the recent widow. May you find joy and thanksgiving in the day remembering lives well-lived and the country that we are blessed to call home.

Claudia and I, as well as the whole Kehoe family, wish you and yours a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

My purpose and intent is to serve the constituents of the 6th senatorial district. Please feel free to contact me at any time at 573-751-2076. When you are in the Capitol during the coming weeks and months, please stop by your office in Room 220.

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