Restoration, I hope that you are someplace warm with family and friends. As we pause to be thankful today, here are some things that come quickly to my mind:
- I am thankful for our growing number of APEX and HS kids. I loved watching them announce the bake sale and seeing all the energy they brought to our building project last Sunday. They raised over $600 for toilets. Those are some nice toilets.
- I am thankful for our partnership with AFAC and other Arlington churches. Over 3000 people ran the Turkey Trot this morning. I am thankful for our growing awareness of hunger in Arlington and our sense of camaraderie as we seek to serve those who are most vulnerable.
- I am thankful for a challenging series on healthy relationships– for the number of people who expressed appreciation at being encouraged to work on healthy sex in marriage.
- I am thankful for Little Falls Presbyterian church who will host us after Easter.
- I am thankful for over 50 small group leaders who shepherded, prayed, exhorted, and encouraged different small groups all over the metro area this fall.
- I am thankful for the 2 IFES staff workers who spoke to us about Turkey and Armenia on Tuesday. There is momentum for another prayer and learning trip to this region in 2013.
- I am thankful for 3 new vestry members: Samantha Burg, Drew Bond, and Mac Wheatley. God has given us such quality men and women to serve as elders.
- I am thankful for Advent and Christmas Eve– the chance to deliberately wait and deliberately be hospitable and to make room for Jesus.
- I am thankful for so many kids who make stuff, read stories, ask piercing questions, and listen to small group leaders who pour their lives into them.
- I am thankful for another great trip to serve our friends in West VA and plans to return in 2013!
- I am thankful for a generous capital campaign, a beautiful new design, and a good plan for saying good-bye to this space in 2013.
- I am thankful for all the work of our Discipleship Task Force and the energy they are applying to plans for 2013.
- I am thankful for good friends, for faithful words of truth and love, for celebratory seasons, and moments of sincere compassion.
Happy Thanksgiving, Restoration. Hope you take some time to make your own list today.
I’ll leave you with the proclamation that President Lincoln gave in 1863 that got this holiday started. I am always moved by its depth and beauty.
By the President of the United States of America.
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 unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. 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 waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. 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 me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
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 Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
Source: The Lincoln Library at the University of Michigan http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/