A Proclamation for Thanksgiving and Praise
With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us and Christmas fast approaching, we invite you to take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday season. During these often hectic weeks, looking to history can provide a gentle reminder of why we celebrate. On October 2nd, 1847, Massachusetts governor George N. Briggs published a proclamation, declaring Thursday, the twenty-fifth of November, a day of public thanksgiving and praise. The proclamation begins by celebrating the abundance of the harvest, crediting the bounty to God:
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” All our blessings come from Him. For the manifold mercies of the past year, we owe to Him a public manifestation of acknowledgement and gratitude.
Briggs proceeds to call for a cessation of work and pursuit of personal matters, instead urging the people of Massachusetts to attend “temples of His worship” to offer thanksgiving to God:
Whilst we ‘enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise,’ let us, as sinners, humble ourselves before Him, and implore His pardoning grace.
Briggs credits God for the blessings He has bestowed upon the people of Massachusetts and urges his constituents to set their gaze to the future, and pray to God that He continue to look upon their land with favor. Briggs himself offers to God words of appeal for the future, praying for the wellbeing of schools and higher seminaries of learning, as well as the downtrodden in need of compassion: widows, the fatherless, and the poor. He also prays that the rich realize that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” and finishes his appeal by asking that God impart justice and truth.
Briggs reminds us that Thanksgiving should be a time to thank God for our innumerable blessings and to spend time in powerful prayer, asking Him to continue to bless those in our community. At Mercury One, we are lucky to have in our possession the original Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Praise written by George Briggs.
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