One of the favored traditions of our family during my husband’s active duty service was celebrating Thanksgiving with the soldiers my husband served. For my husband, that meant wearing his dress uniform to preach at the chapel Thanksgiving Day service.Following the service, our family would head to the dining facility, otherwise known as the mess hall, for a Thanksgiving feast.

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The Thanksgiving day meal for a military dining facilty has been described as the Super Bowl for military cooks. They go all out with decorations and create a feast in the truest sense of the word. From the printed menus and ice sculpture for ambiance, from shrimp coctail to pumpkin pie for appetite, it is special. Oftentimes my husband and other officers would go behind the chow line to serve the solidiers, giving them opprtunity by way of a symbolic gesture to show their appreciation to the young troops.

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It was during a time of war that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed an official day of thanksgiving to be observed on the thrd Thursday in November of every year in America, making this a national holiday. And it was President Woodrow Wilson who during World War I declared Thanksgiving a special day for those in military service. On military installations this day was to be complete with a church service and full dinner in order to acknowledge “the great blessings God has bestowed upon us.”


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Even in faraway lands in the midst of combat zones, on Thanksgiving Day the chaplain will be flying to forward operating bases to conduct a Thankstiving service for troops. Along with the chaplain will be freshly cooked turkey and all the trimmings.

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As you enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday and all the traditions that accompany it for you, won’t you join me in praying for military personnel serving around the world? Consider the attitude and thoughfs of the originator of America’s Thanksgivng Day, President Abraham Lincoln, as he instructed a nation to thank almighty God.

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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 imposition of the Almighty 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, tranquility , and union.

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~President Abraham Lincoln, Washington, D.C., October 3, 1863

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Taken from the November 26 entry of The One Year™Yellow Ribbon Devotional: Take a Stand in Prayer for our Nation and Those Who Serve by Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin

I mentioned in my last entry that I just returned from a brief visit to Alaska. I traveled with a team of trainers to conduct a of leadership seminar. We stayed in the town of North Pole where the street lights were naturally shaped as candy canes.I enjoyed the local cuisine: moose chili! It was actually very good!It was a lovely time of fellowship and ministry with dear friends and gifted leaders.

Right before I left there was a amazing rainbow in the sky. I’ve never seen rainbows like those in Alaska. They are brilliant in color and scope. It was not the first time I had been privileged to experience the beautiful spectrum in this rugged land. I wrote about an Alaskan rainbow from a previous trip in the book The One Year Yellow Ribbon Devotional.


Here is the devotional inspired by Alaska titled, “A Word from Our Sponsor.”

ALL AROUND HIM WAS A GLOWING HALO, LIKE A RAINBOW SHINING IN THE CLOUDS ON A RAINY DAY. THIS IS WHAT THE GLORY OF THE LORD LOOKED LIKE TO ME. WHEN I SAW IT, I FELL FACE DOWN ON THE GROUND, AND I HEARD SOMEONE’S VOICE SPEAKING TO ME.  –EZEKIEL 1:28 NLT

Each time I have visited Alaska I have had a memorable experience.  It is a place where the glory of the Lord is evident in the beauty of nature.  On my last visit I was speaking at a conference on the topic of heaven.  One side of the room was banked with picture windows that held the view of a sparkling lake, golden autumn trees and majestic mountains topped with the first snow of the season.  It was a sight to behold.  In spite of this tempting view the attendees blessed me with their attention.  That is, until the last night.  Following my introduction I noticed people turning their heads toward the window.  It was evident they were trying hard to keep their attention focused on the message I was attempting to share.  There was a murmur in the audience that caused me to finally turn my head to see what was causing the distraction.  What I saw totally arrested me!

The sun was glimmering on the lake which caused the golden leaves on the trees and snow on the tops of the mountains to literally sparkle.  But that wasn’t the thing that caught us all off guard.  Out of the center of all of this was the most brilliant rainbow I have ever seen.    As a speaker I did the only thing I could think of, I shut my mouth and led the audience outside.  There we saw the rainbow completely surrounded the area where we stood.  Together we basked in the beauty of the moment and spontaneously joined in singing the chorus “How Great Is Our God.”

The military spouses in attendance at this conference were far from home, many of them were experiencing the fatigue that accompanies a long-term deployment.  We had gathered for a time of encouragement and challenge as sisters in Christ.  It truly was as if the Lord was saying, “We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for a word from our sponsor.”  We had spent the weekend talking about the hope of heaven.  To us this display of majesty was confirmation of the gracious promise of God that his covenant with us remains true.  Today’s scripture references Ezekiel’s vision of the throne of God.  It is the same as John’s vision in Revelation 4:3 and holds the promise for us as Christ followers that one day we will view his throne surrounded with a rainbow.  What I saw in Alaska is only a taste of the beauty we will behold in heaven!  It can’t come soon enough! What a day that will be!

Lord, as I view the beauty of creation, open my eyes to see your hand in all your works and help me to serve you with joy and gladness. Amen.

(Brenda Pace and Carol McGlothlin, One Year®Yellow Ribbon Devotional, Taking a Stand in Prayer for our Nation and those Who Serve. Tyndale House, Carol Stream, Ill. 2008. Entry for September 20.)

©Brenda Pace, 2010