STOP! We’ve got it all wrong. The history books are incorrect. The movies, parades, greeting cards, holiday specials, inflatable lawn decorations – all of them are wrong.
How can that be? After all, we've got Abraham Lincoln’s original, handwritten, signed, proclamation in the National Archives (1). It’s there for all to see.
But, you see, we’ve overlooked it. We’ve allowed others to tell us what it says, what it means.
Well, it’s high time that we look at it for ourselves. So, what does it say?
It doesn’t say a day of Thanksgiving.
It says a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.
Now, some are going to throw up their hands and say that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. And in one sense, I am.
But look at what Abraham Lincoln wrote, “Thanksgiving and Praise.” Both are capitalized. They go together. It’s supposed to be a day filled with both Thanksgiving and Praise. But, what’s the difference?
Thanksgiving – responding to God for reaching out to us, his leaning into us, the one he loves.
Praise – enthusiastic acknowledgment and recognition for who God is, how good he is, and all he has done.
So, as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, let’s do everything that Abraham Lincoln wanted us to do. To give thanks for sure, but not just give thanks. We also need to praise.
Give both thanks and praise to God. He deserves both.