After the tragedy of September 11 and as the war in Afghanistan continues, the Civil-War-era words of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation are especially poignant:

I recommend to [Americans] that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also … 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.

As America celebrates Thanksgiving tomorrow, a handful of thought leaders told Christianity Today what they are thankful for this year:

"On September 11th I was sitting in my car near the Pentagon when the hijacked plane crashed into it. It was a morning when evil and death were in control. But, every moment since then there has been a new appreciation in our country of the sacrifices that have been made for over 200 years to ensure our freedom. This Thanksgiving, my family and I plan to pray and give thanks for the unsung heroes who stand guard over our nation and for the God who is the author of our liberty."

Gary L. Bauer, head of American Values and former presidential candidate.

"I am pleased to see flags waving everywhere I go, as witnesses to a rebirth of patriotism; and I am pleased to find young people rediscovering America's idealism as they increasingly commit themselves to community service. But most of all, I am grateful for the huge number of new missionaries who are accepting the challenge to wed evangelism with social justice as they go out to preach the whole gospel to the whole world."

Tony Campolo, founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education/Tony Campolo Ministries, and sociology professor at Eastern College, St. Davids, Pennsylvania.

"This Thanksgiving season, my wife Macel and I are grateful for a close-knit and healthy family of 15 who are all following Christ, and who, praise God, all live within minutes of our home. Eight beautiful and loving grandchildren never leave room for ingratitude. In a distant but important second place, I am also terribly grateful, as I enter my 50th year in the gospel ministry, to be allowed to continue serving the pastoral needs of 22,000 devoted and precious Thomas Road Baptist Church members and over 10,000 young champions for Christ at Liberty University. Finally, I am most thankful for God's faithfulness. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. My heart could never adequately express the thankfulness I feel to the One who deserves it the most: Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior."

Jerry Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, president of Liberty University, TV and radio personality.

"On this Thanksgiving I am especially grateful for the witness of faithful Christians under pressure, like Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry, whose loving perseverance in the face of hostility reminds me that Jesus is King and that his gospel will never be suppressed."

Timothy George, dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama.

"I am grateful this Thanksgiving for the work of the Spirit in our time to bring the body of Christ into a greater proximate unity in witness. All about us we can see evidences not apparent before of a new awareness among Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant believers, of our participation by faith in the saving work of Christ."

Tom Oden, professor of theology at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

"What am I thankful for at Thanksgiving 2001?

For God's continued answer to my constant prayer that I may not live to be useless;
For the continued pleasures of being a servant-teacher, for continued energy, mind and body;
For good family health, and gratifying family circumstances;
For the beauty of parkland and woodland and street development round the Packer home, where I love to walk;
For the high quality, by my standards, of the English Standard Version [for which Dr. Packer was the general editor];
For good friends, old and new, both sides of the Atlantic;
For the sovereign goodness and grace of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, which I hope to be celebrating in glory forever."
J.I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia.

"I am thankful to God for the leadership he has given to our nation in a critical time such as this, and for the privilege of preaching the gospel at this time in history."

Ravi Zacharias, President, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

Todd Hertz is assistant online editor for Christianity Today.

Related Elsewhere

Also appearing on today's site:

Christian History Corner: Eat, Drink, and Relax | Think the Pilgrims would frown on today's football-tossing, turkey-gobbling Thanksgiving festivities? Maybe not. (Nov. 21, 2001)

See Christianity Today'sThanksgiving channel for more articles.