In a departure from tradition, President Joe Biden’s 2023 Thanksgiving proclamation made no mention of Almighty God.

While the president expressed gratitude for the nation and its many contributors, from firefighters and first responders to teachers and caregivers, there was a noticeable absence of recognition for the Source from whom all blessings flow.

In his proclamation, Biden highlighted the essence of Thanksgiving as a time to honor the blessings of the United States. He expressed gratitude for the nation and its boundless possibilities, remembering and thanking various groups, including firefighters, police officers, first responders, doctors, nurses, scientists, public servants, union workers, teachers, mothers, fathers and caregivers. His message emphasized unity and the strength of the nation when working together.

The proclamation stated in part, “This Thanksgiving we are grateful for our Nation and the incredible soul of America. May we all remember that we are the United States of America — there is nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 2023, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States of America to join together and give thanks for the friends, neighbors, family members, and strangers who have supported each other over the past year in a reflection of goodwill and unity,” he added.

Biden’s proclamation stands in stark contrast to the proclamation made by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Even as the country was in the midst of the civil war, Lincoln firmly rooted Thanksgiving in expressions of gratitude and praise to the “beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

He also directly attributed the nation’s blessings and bounties to the Almighty, acknowledging that they were “the gracious gifts of the Most High God.

“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,” the late president declared.

Calling upon his fellow citizens to offer thanks to God for the singular deliverances and blessings bestowed upon the nation, Lincoln cautioned against forgetting the source of these gifts, noting that they are “so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.”

Biden will not be the first president to make the decision to omit references to God in his Thanksgiving proclamation, as then-President Barack Obama did the same in 2016.