Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789
By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.
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.”
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
(https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-04-02-0091, retrieved 11/03/2021)
Last year, we discussed the 1621 Pilgrim Thanksgiving celebration and the miracle of Squanto. (see "About Squanto" on our website tab "Insights").).
This year, we consider George Washington’s proclamation to set aside November 26, 1789, to pray and thank God for the many miracles this nascent country had witnessed.
In spite of threats from within and without, the first United States President implored these new Americans to express gratitude for “the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us."
Celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday reminds us to take stock of our lives, our relationships, our blessings, and to be grateful. Gratitude takes the spotlight off our deficiencies and our problems and helps us to appreciate what we have.
According to Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, gratitude has two key components.
“First,” he writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received.”
"Secondly," he explains, “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small...” (https://www.mindful.org/an-introduction-to-mindful-gratitude/, retrieved 11/03/2021).
As the Psalmist wrote:
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. Psalm 107: 1-3 (ESV)
This November 25th, remind yourself of all the good gifts you’ve been given, and acknowledge that all you have, or ever will have, is from the Giver of Gifts, who loves you with an everlasting love.
Have a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!