Next week is Thanksgiving so I thought I would use this opportunity to remind us of the origin of Thanksgiving. This holiday is not only overlooked but has been revised. Do schools today teach that Thanksgiving was to God and not the Indians?
Here’s a brief history. On November 29, 1623, three years after their arrival, and two years after the first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford made an official proclamation of a day of Thanksgiving:
“To all you Pilgrims: In as much as the Great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes and garden vegetable, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience;
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all you Pilgrims, with your wives and your little ones, do gather at the meeting house, on the hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29, of the year of our Lord 1623, and the third year since you Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, there to listen to the pastor and render thanksgiving to Almighty God for all of His blessings.” William Bradford, Governor of the Colony.”
It’s a shame that the true meaning of Thanksgiving is not even acknowledged.
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a formal proclamation, passed by act of Congress, initiating the first annual “National Day of Thanksgiving”:
“No human pencil has devised, nor has 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, has nevertheless remembered mercy…I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the heavens…[it is] announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord…It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”
I hope that you can join us next Wednesday night for our annual Thanksgiving Communion Service when we as a congregation will gather to thank God for His blessings to us, our families, our church and our nation.