On October 3, 1863, at the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving, calling the nation to observe a "day of Thanksgiving and Praise." This proclamation eventually led to the establishing of our national day of Thanksgiving.
The document began by listing multiple blessings the nation had experienced through the course of the year, even in the midst of severe conflict. It called the American people to recognize the Source of those blessings and to respond collectively to the Giver in gratitude, repentance, and intercession. Here's an excerpt:
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... 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...they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience... 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, humility, tranquillity and Union.
Set against a background of divisive conflict, our nation's leader in the 1860's was humble enough to know that our nation needed God and needed to be grateful. This kind of heart is no less needed in our nation today as it was then.
The call to gratitude goes beyond the church and into every avenue of life. Pray today for a humble, grateful, repentant spirit to be birthed in our own hearts, and among our leaders at every level.
taken from Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss, pg 212-213