The first thanksgiving event can be traced to the 1600’s when the Pilgrims gave thanks for God’s mercy and care in bringing them though a brutal winter and loss of loved ones to celebrate the bounty of the food they had been able to grow.
We celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday on the last Thursday of November. What do you know about how this holiday came about and some of the people responsible for this day being set aside to give thanks? Here is a brief and interesting review of some of that history. https://history.house.gov/Historical-Highlights/1901-1950/The-Thanksgiving-holiday/#:~:text=On%20Thursday%2C%20November%2026%2C%201789,1870%2C%20Congress%20followed%20suit%20by
If you read the article, you saw where Presidents Washington and Lincoln recommended that American citizens set aside the last Thursday of November as day of thanksgiving. Did you happen to notice the years in which these proclamations were made?
The years were 1789 and 1863, highly significant dates in our nation. 1789 was the first full year of the existence of our nation after the ratification of our constitution in 1788! President Washington had led the continental army in the defeat of the British, chaired the meeting of delegates in Philadelphia, and was now serving his first term as President. He had personally experienced the hand of God on the battlefield and in the often contentious meeting in Philadelphia to hammer out the magnificent document that has been the foundation of our republic for over 230 years. This great leader called on our young nation to observe a day of ” public prayer and thanksgiving.”
Fast forward 74 years to 1863. What was going on then? We were in the middle of a great battle that threated to destroy our country. Many believe, as did President Lincoln, the Battle of Gettysburg was the turning point of the War Between the States. Although 50, 000 American lives were lost, this Union victory was crucial in securing the unity of the nation. In the midst of the great loss of life, Lincoln saw reason to proclaim a day to thank God for the preservation of our country. You can read more here https://www.nps.gov/liho/learn/historyculture/lincoln-and-thanksgiving.htm#:~:text=Abraham%20Lincoln’s%20Thanksgiving%20Proclamation,-In%20July%201863&text=On%20October%203%2C%201863%2C%20with,a%20day%20of%20Thanksgiving…
So, when did Thanksgiving become an “official” national holiday? In 1870 Congress passed legislation making Thanksgiving, along with Christmas, July 4, and January 1 national holidays.
Thanksgiving became a national holiday because presidents and legislators saw the hand of God at critical turning points in our nation. They saw evidence of Almighty God at work in the affairs of this country and took action to memorialize His care in a national holiday.
I am grateful for leaders like Washington, Lincoln, and others who openly acknowledge the goodness of God and his blessings upon our nation. I believe we have drifted a long, long way from the sense of dependence and trust in God that many of our founders readily acknowledged. I believe it is only by the mercy of God that we continue to exist, even as a shadow of what those who sacrificed to birth our nation envisioned for us.
Setting aside a national holiday such as Thanksgiving does not make us a thankful people. We have seen unchecked arrogance and pride among our national leaders. The pursuit of power has replaced the humility that seeks wisdom and common sense. We are experiencing a division of purpose and will that has not been seen since the War Between the States. We are in desperate days. The economy is in shambles, inflation is the highest in decades, the stock market is all over the place, and there are serious threats to our safety and existence from without. But, the underlying cancer that is eating away at the soul of our nation is our rebellion against God and his teachings.
I believe we are rapidly becoming a nation that is losing its spiritual mooring, our Anchor. We need a revival of faith and trust in God. Politicians may be able to fix some of the issues that are making us uncomfortable, and I hope they will. But, God’s people must act like we really believe in God and align our lives and actions to conform to his will. We are the salt and light of the world, the preservative and the light in a world system that fights to exalt human pride and eliminate God from our daily and national lives.
My suggestion to us. Live gratefully every day. Begin your days by acknowledging your life is a gift from God. Remember how he has seen you through difficult times, thank him for the way he is working in your life today, and trust him for how he is going to make good come from everything he allows to happen to you. Don’t wait for another Thanksgiving to muster up some half-baked prayers that are not really heart-felt. No, make every day a Thanksgiving Day, and when the national holiday comes around you will be in good practice to celebrate it as you should.
Pray for our nation. We desperately need a revival. That is significantly more important than high gas prices, inflation, and the myriad of issues we face. I believe when we get our hearts in the right place, we will see many of these problems get fixed as well.
This book can help you develop a spirit of thankfulness as you come to realize how much God loves you and what he has done to give you a living, growing relationship with him.