Do We Really Celebrate Thanksgiving?
think of Thanksgiving as a wonderful time of enjoying a long
and eating a great dinner. Or, perhaps they view it as the start
of the Christmas,
"Holiday" season. While these aspects may describe
they are not the real meaning behind it.
tradition of Thanksgiving can be traced to the year 1623.
the harvest in November 1623, the governor of the
Colony, William Bradford, proclaimed: "All ye Pilgrims with your
little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill... there to
the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all
The pilgrims were to demonstrate their gratitude to God
undergone terrific hardships in their migration to their new
sailing 9 weeks on the open seas, the 102 puritans arrived
on Nov. 9, 1620. That first winter was very difficult and they
really prepared for the hardships they were to endure. It was
for them to care for the sick because the sick out-numbered those
healthy. By the end of the winter, many lives had been lost. It
estimated that as many as one-half of the pilgrims may have
years that followed were filled with hard work and uncertainty.
were comforted and encouraged by the Lord and were grateful
blessing during those difficult years.
years later, On November 1, 1777, by order of Congress, the
Thanksgiving was proclaimed and signed by the President
of the Continental
Congress. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was
"for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and
the good people may express the grateful feelings of their
and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine
and their humble and earnest supplication that it may
through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and
(their manifold sins) out of remembrance... That it may please
take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for
the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety under His nurturing
to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and
of that kingdom which consisteth of 'righteousness, peace
in the Holy Ghost'..."
wrote a proclamation in which Thursday, the 19th day
1795 was set aside as a National Day of Thanksgiving. He
it is "our duty as a people, with devout reverence and
gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to
God, and to implore Him to continue is our duty as a people, with
and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many
obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue
the blessings we experienced..."
3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln and the U.S Congress established
annual National Day of Thanksgiving "on the last Thursday of
as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father
in the heavens."
So it is
that on Thanksgiving each year, Americans give thanks to God,
His blessings toward us throughout the year. Our gratitude
is not directed
toward our jobs, our successes, our material blessings or
but rather we give thanks to our God for the grace and mercy
He has granted.
Bible References upon which to reflect:
"I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with
give thanks to him and praise his name."
"Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse
which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to