As I’m sure everyone knows, today, February 20, 2012*, is Presidents’ Day (and if you didn’t know yet, how have you missed the ads and commercials?). Although every U.S. president is celebrated today, the focus is on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Psalm 100:1 & 2
Our first president was a Virginian gentleman born February 22, 1732. Somehow Washington kept a small untrained army of Americans together and eventually managed to defeat the well-trained and proper regiments of British soldiers, all without any clear American government. After the revolution was over, Americans welcomed him almost as king and savior. However, he served as president for only two terms, retiring at age 65, and beginning the tradition of turning down power.
Lincoln had a very different background. Instead of being a proper and high-born gentleman, Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, to poor, unknown parents, in the wilderness of Kentucky, before it had been well settled. After the horror of the Civil War, when brother fought against brother, Lincoln begged everyone to rebuild the nation lovingly: ”With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds” (from his Second Inaugural Address).
*Presidents’ Day is celebrated every year on the third Monday of February. In 2012, that’s February 20, but the specific date changes.