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Blog: Remembering Our Blessings During Difficult Times


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This morning I attended the Community Prayer Breakfast in Amarillo. It is always an impressive and an inspirational event. This year was no exception.

I am struck by how different the mood of that event was from the mood in Washington and in the country's political life generally. The dominant theme of the breakfast was gratitude. More than a thousand people gathered simply to give thanks for the many, many blessings God has given us and to pray at each table for the community, for our State, and for our Nation.

Of course, that is also the theme of this Thanksgiving week. I am always amazed that the first Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln in 1863 at the height of the Civil War. One would not expect that to be a time of gratitude, for the outcome of the war was still very much in doubt. Yet, Lincoln believed that it was exactly the time to have an official national holiday across the country to remember our blessings and to give thanks to God for them. He wrote, "It has seemed to me fit and proper that they (the gracious gifts of the Most High God) should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People."

It is hard for us to even imagine the difficulties of that moment in history. Today, many of us are concerned about our country, even angry about some of the decisions being made. But each of us is still incredibly fortunate to be an American and to live in this nation which God has so richly blessed. While we cannot ignore the problems we face, we also must not forget our blessings. We can draw inspiration from President Lincoln and the many praying people in our country to face the challenges of our day with both courage and gratitude.

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