Author Archives: Kenyn Cureton
On November 25, 1800, the U.S. Senate replied to President John Adams’ Fourth Annual Address to Congress, which had recently begun their first session in the new Capitol building in Washington, D.C.: “Sir: Impressed with the important truth that the hearts of rulers and people are in the hand of the Almighty [Prov. 21:1], the Senate of the United States most cordially join in your invocations for blessings upon the Government and people of this Union. We meet you, sir, and the other branch of the National Legislature in the city which is honored by the name of our late hero and sage, the illustrious Washington, with sensations and emotions which exceed our power of description…. “Great indeed would have been our gratification if his sum of earthly happiness had been completed by seeing the Government thus peaceably convened at this place; but we derive consolation from a belief that the moment in which we were destined to experience the loss we deplore was fixed by that Being whose counsels can not err, and from a hope that since in this seat of Government, which bears his name, his earthly remains will be deposited, the members of Congress, and all who inhabit the city, with these memorials before them, will retain his virtues in lively recollection, and make his patriotism, morals, and piety models for imitation. “And permit us to add, sir, that it is not among the least of our consolations that you, who have been his companion and […]
President Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation for a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to be observed on the last Thursday of November in 1863, issued a few months after the bloodiest battle of the Civil War at Gettysburg. With the outcome of the war still in doubt, Lincoln nevertheless called the nation to give thanks: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. “In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity… Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding…the siege and the battle-field… “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 […]
President John F. Kennedy issued a proclamation for a day of National Thanksgiving, to be observed on November 23, 1961, which begins with Scripture: “’It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.’ [Psalm 92:1] “More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence. “This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation;…for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children. “It is right that we […]
On November 22, 1800, President John Adams gave his Fourth Annual Address to Congress, which began the first session in the new Capitol building in Washington, D.C. President Adams declared: “I congratulate the People of the United States on the assembling of Congress at the permanent seat of their Government… “It would be unbecoming the representatives of this nation to assemble for the first time in this solemn temple without looking up to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe and imploring His blessing. “May this territory be the residence of virtue and happiness! In this city may that piety and virtue, that wisdom and magnanimity, that constancy and self-government, which adorned the great character whose name it bears be forever held in veneration! Here and throughout our country may simple manners, pure morals, and true religion flourish forever!”* President John Adams’ blessing over the Capitol building and the Capital city that bears the name of George Washington, the Father of our Country, is another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read 1 Kings 8:1-24 and reflect on the dedication of the Temple and compare that with this dedication of the United States Capitol by President Adams. Prayer: Father, we praise you for this Founding Father and our forbearers who thought it proper to pray a prayer of dedication over our Capitol. *Source Citation: James D. Richardson, ed., A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 11 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Literature 1907-1910), 1:250.
On November 21, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln sent a letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby of Boston, who had reportedly lost five sons in the Civil War: “Dear Madam, I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. “I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.”* Abraham Lincoln’s heartfelt letter and eloquent prayer for this mother who lost her sons in battle is yet another lost episode in American history. Read and Reflect: Read John 15:13 and reflect on Jesus’ words about sacrifice and compare that with the sacrifice made by Mrs. Bixby. Prayer: Father, during this season of thanksgiving, we are so grateful for the sacrifices made by the members of our military as well as those made by their families. We ask your richest blessings on them, in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: Roy P. Basler, […]