Thanksgiving Week in a Divided Nation

Ramon Arias | November 21, 2016

Traditionally, Thanksgiving week is when millions of people travel like at no other time of the year and this year will not be any different. However, this Thanksgiving the nation reminds us of the deep national divide as revealed after the elections. 

Can the history and tradition of Thanksgiving Day heal the deep divide? Don’t count on it and I’m not being pessimistic only realistic. I have stated this before in many ways that since the time leading up to the Declaration and War of Independence from Britain until today, we must admit that this nation was born divided. Now, as we deal with multiculturalism, political correctness, the entitlement mentality, the racism revival and an unyielding and dominant left ideology, the division is deeper than ever. The biblical worldview, or philosophy, is at war with the humanist ideology; those opposing ideas are irreconcilable, so the cultural war is going to continue. The question remains, which ideology is going to win and by what means?

Oh, the blessings of history! Let us remember and learn from the Thanksgiving proclamations by the Confederate States and the Union at the beginning as well as towards the end of the War Between the States.

Some examples are:

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed THANKSGIVING DAY in 1862 for victory in battle.

In 1862, Jefferson Davis proclaimed THANKSGIVING DAY for victory in battle.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed for victory in battle and again in the same year another proclamation of THANKSGIVING DAY.

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed THANKSGIVING DAY in 1864.

The first proclamation of fasting and prayer was declared by Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, in 1861. It reads as follows:

WHEREAS, it hath pleased Almighty God, the Sovereign Disposer of events, to protect and defend us hitherto in our conflicts with our enemies as to be unto them a shield.

And whereas, with grateful thanks we recognize His hand and acknowledge that not unto us, but unto Him, belongeth the victory, and in humble dependence upon His almighty strength, and trusting in the justness of our purpose, we appeal to Him that He may set at naught the efforts of our enemies, and humble them to confusion and shame.

Now therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, in view of impending conflict, do hereby set apart Friday, the 15th day of November, as a day of national humiliation and prayer, and do hereby invite the reverend clergy and the people of these Confederate States to repair on that day to their homes and usual places of public worship, and to implore blessing of Almighty God upon our people, that he may give us victory over our enemies, preserve our homes and altars from pollution, and secure to us the restoration of peace and prosperity.

Given under hand and seal of the Confederate States at Richmond, this the 31st day of October, year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and sixty one.

By the President, JEFFERSON DAVIS

The War Between the States was from April 12, 1861, to May 9, 1865. Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865.

When Andrew Johnson became President he made a proclamation of Thanksgiving Day in October 1865:

Whereas it has pleased Almighty God during the year which is now coming to an end to relieve our beloved country from the fearful scourge of civil war and to permit us to secure the blessings of peace, unity, and harmony, with a great enlargement of civil liberty; and

Whereas our Heavenly Father has also during the year graciously averted from us the calamities of foreign war, pestilence, and famine, while our granaries are full of the fruits of an abundant season; and

Whereas righteousness exalteth a nation, while sin is a reproach to any people:

Now, therefore, be it known that I, Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, do hereby recommend to the people thereof that they do set apart and observe the first Thursday of December next as a day of national thanksgiving to the Creator of the Universe for these great deliverances and blessings.

And I do further recommend that on that occasion the whole people make confession of our national sins against His infinite goodness, and with one heart and one mind implore the divine guidance in the ways of national virtue and holiness.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 28th day of October, A.D. 1865, and of the Independence of the United States of America the ninetieth.


All of the proclamations appealed to Almighty God and, for the most part, acknowledged the national sins and the need for the citizens to draw closer to God. That was America then.

Only Christians can understand the hand of God was upon the elections of 2016.  As we celebrate a day of Thanksgiving, let us not forget that it originated with the surviving 53 Pilgrims in early autumn of 1621 after a successful harvest. King Massasoit, along with some 90 natives, joined in the celebration of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth.

There is only one uniting principle before us.  On August 28, 1963, at the Civil Rights March in Washington, D.C. the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, words still ring true today:

“We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence,… I have a dream … where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers … This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, ‘MY COUNTRY ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, Land of the Pilgrims’ pride, From every mountainside, Let freedom ring.'”

To that end, this Thanksgiving Day and very day, let us earnestly pray for God’s people to do His will here on earth as it is in heaven and to be the light in this darkened world!