I love this time of year! The air is crisp, the leaves are changing and the holidays are just around the corner. Which means that time with family, friends and good food is sure to come. It is a perfect time for reflection and thanksgiving and we certainly have much to be thankful for.
I was reading about the origins of Thanksgiving and what I found was both surprising and an encouragement. Did you know that George Washington himself in 1789 was the first to proclaim a day of Thanksgiving to God? Indeed, but it never really caught on at the national level. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln set aside the last Thursday of November as the national Day of Thanksgiving. This would prove to be a pivotal time for Mr. Lincoln. You see just a few months before his proclamation, he had watched as soldiers from the Union and Confederacy fought at the Battle of Gettysburg with over 60,000 casualties. About a month after his proclamation, President Lincoln was in Gettysburg to give what would become his most famous speech, The Gettysburg Address. While walking amongst the thousands of graves it was then and there that Mr. Lincoln committed his life to Christ. In a letter to a friend he writes:
“When I left Springfield [to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.”
Abraham Lincoln realized that he had much to be thankful for. Fortunately, he made the most important decision he ever made five months before his assassination. For the next years each president, following Lincoln’s lead, proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national Thanksgiving Day. Finally, in 1941 congress permanently established the fourth Thursday of each month as Thanksgiving Day and a national holiday.
In looking back over the past few months that my family has been a part of the WCS family I can see that God’s hand is upon our school. He is putting things in motion all around us and working in the heart of each person. Whether it is the generous outpouring we saw at the Faith Promise Dinner, our students giving back to the community through Center of Hope, Meals on Wheels and Habitat for Humanity, or listening to our children sing praises to our God, He is definitely at work here at WCS.
For each one of us this time of year brings about different emotions and memories. I only hope that we take the time to pause and give thanks for God’s goodness and mercy in our lives. As the old hymn says, “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.” In doing so I know that we will be ever mindful of the provision in our lives and the price that was paid for the hope we have. We are truly blessed and have much to be thankful for.