Today we had Thanksgiving dinner with some of our neighbors that we met about a month ago when I decided to ask them if they wanted to drop off the truck load of dirt that they had, into our front yard. I have found myself so surprised and delighted with the kindness of (almost complete) strangers lately and have been so blessed by their generosity and love of God.
After about an hour or so of mingling around with other people who had been invited to this family's house, we gathered in the living room and Art read the following combination of speeches by Abraham Lincoln.
"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history: that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisement in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious Hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!(On March 30, 1863 President Lincoln, in his Proclamation for a Day of Prayer and Fasting)
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and 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."(Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1863)
I was struck by how true the ring of this was. If we were too proud then to acknowledge that God has made us, than what does that make us today?
We ate dinner outside in 80˚ weather, which didn't make it feel too much like Thanksgiving. So in the spirit of feeling non-traditional I decided to heap a spoonful of hot chili sauce onto my turkey and ham, as was our neighbors tradition. IT WAS DELICIOUS! I will take chili sauce over gravy any day!
After dinner we gathered inside and sang worship hymns - the guitar, hand drum and lap harp were the instruments played. It reminded me a lot of house church back in the day (though, I was actually sitting still for this).