By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  November 19, 2016

            It is no secret that the nation is still reeling from the outcomes of last week’s presidential election. Some are elated over President Elect Trump’s narrow victory. Some are discouraged and dismayed that he will be the next president of the United States. Many are simply trying to find meaning in the aftermath of what has arguably been the most negative, angry, and divisive political campaign in memory. It really is a good time to come together and celebrate Thanksgiving.
            The modern American holiday has its origins in 1777 when early American leaders called on the importance of giving thanks as a form of national unity and strength. Understandably, the recognition of thanks was attributed to the Creator for providing the bounteous blessings the early national citizens enjoyed, as well as commemorating the nostalgic memory of the early Pilgrim immigrants and their gratitude for life in the New World. 
            In the years following the American Revolutionary War, harvest festivals and observances of thanksgiving were frequently followed but largely fell under individual state or local custom and had no national focus. Dates and traditions varied, and many Americans did not recognize any form of thanksgiving.
            This changed during the height of the American Civil War when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day designated as the final Thursday in November. Much as our national Founding Fathers intended with the original declarations of thanksgiving, the President hoped to use the blessing of Thanks and Praise as a means to look past the many factors and factions that divided a nation embroiled in a bloody civil war. The declaration of national thanks was filled with hope for unity and peace.
            Today the need for Thanksgiving is, perhaps, greater than it has ever been. For a number of reasons the campaign of 2016 has been particularly ugly, bitter, and divisive. It has been filled with anger, hate, and fear. In many cases, Christians have divided bitterly against fellow Christians with angry shouts of vile hatred because of diverse political opinions and ideologies.  Even though the votes have been cast and the new president has been chosen, the residual stain of the vile, hate-filled, and fear-driven campaign continues to drive some Americans against one another in particularly unchristian ways. It is time to really have a day of Thanksgiving.
            In addressing the need for Thanksgiving this year, several churches are joining forces to proclaim our shared love of God and express gratitude for all God has done for the community of Carlsbad. Protestant and Catholic Christians will meet tomorrow evening at San Jose Catholic Church to give thanks to God and praise God as one Christian family united in our shared faith in Jesus Christ. Republicans and Democrats, Trump supporters and Clinton supporters, and many who struggled to support either candidate, will all be joining as one in Christ to give thanks and praise God. Most importantly, this worship is a time when devoted followers of Jesus Christ who are grateful to God for the life we have and are ready to rise above partisan politics and give thanks to the Creator for all the blessings we truly know and have in life.
            This is a Carlsbad Community event that is open to all who are devoted to God and wish to worship our Creator in thanksgiving and praise. Worship begins at 5:00 and there will be a joyous reception in the parish all immediately following the worship together. It is a great time to share with other Christians, make new friends in Christ, and proclaim our thanks to God.