The Forgotten History Of Thanksgiving

In my devotional reading this morning, I came across a short summary of the history of Thanksgiving. I’m sure we can all gain great perspective from this brief review.

There is clearly a war going on here in the U.S. against God. As a country, we once were clear about our reverence and respect for God’s hand in the establishing of our great country.

The short article below was written by Janice Buckman and reprinted in the Daily Devotional for Bayside Community Church in Bradenton Florida.

Although Thanksgiving celebrations date back to the 1500’s in America, the oldest American holiday, Thanksgiving Day, finds its origins in that familiar, historic feast of 1621 with the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. For three days they celebrated God’s provision with feasting, activities, and giving Him thanks. Designated days of Thanksgiving continued and spread in the colonies becoming annual traditions.

President George Washington proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving as Thursday, November 26, 1789. Other presidents followed, proclaiming days for prayer, fasting, and giving thanks to God. Abraham Lincoln, in the darkest days of the Civil War, set the last Thursday of November, 1863 as a time to pray and give thanks. Other presidents followed his example, but the dates varied until 1933 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November. In 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday.

You’ll also appreciate this short Thanksgiving Devotional from Turning Point (Dr. David Jeremiah)

The holiday we now call “Thanksgiving” is rooted in the harvest celebration of the Plymouth Pilgrims in 1621. And their harvest celebration had excellent biblical precedent: At least three feasts in Israel included thanks for the blessings of the various harvests. The Feasts of Firstfruits (March-April), Weeks/Pentecost (May-June), and Tabernacles (September-October) all included thanks for various harvests during the agricultural year. George Washington encouraged the celebration of “Thanksgiving” and Abraham Lincoln made it official in 1863: a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

In the New Testament, we find that Christ changed everything—including the giving of thanks. Since all the ceremonial celebrations of Israel were fulfilled in the Messiah, there are no more official days of thanksgiving. Rather, we are told, “in everything give thanks.” In Christ, we have reason and opportunity to express our thanks to God for all things at all times.

On behalf of my wife Johanna and myself, we pray that God may richly and abundantly fill your life with what only He can provide!

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