As Christians, we are so blessed! We are blessed to have God as our Heavenly Father and Jesus as our older brother. We are blessed to have the church as our spiritual family. We are blessed because we get to experience ‘thanksgiving’ 365 days per year. Instead of only celebrating the spirit of ‘thanksgiving’ once a year as most Americans do, as Christians we offer up our ‘thanksgiving’ praise to God every day in songs and prayer.
Unfortunately, in our country the holiday we call ‘Thanksgiving’ has morphed into a day of overeating and watching football games and has departed from the original intent. The following information I gleaned through research conducted by David Owens.
In 1623 William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth Colony called citizens to come together on November 29th to offer up thanksgiving to the Almighty God. In 1789 President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation to commemorate the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving. Six years later President Washington proclaimed a second day of Thanksgiving. Several presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, opposed a national day of Thanksgiving, calling it a “kingly practice similar to celebrated days in England”. After this, Thanksgiving Day was observed by some individual states, and they did so on whichever date suited their fancy.
Thanksgiving Day might not be celebrated nationally today if not for the persistent work of Sarah Hale. In 1828, Mrs. Hale, editor of a magazine and author of the poem, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, began campaigning for the restoration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. After being rebuffed by numerous politicians, President Lincoln listened seriously to her plea that North and South “lay aside enmities and strife on Thanksgiving Day.” Lincoln went ahead and proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the official “National Thanksgiving Day.” This proclamation was eventually made into law in 1941. On Thanksgiving Day our nation pauses to express thankfulness for the freedom we enjoy, the bountiful supply of food and necessities, and the opportunities we have as citizens of a great nation. Thanksgiving Day is a symbol of an attitude that should characterize our lives every day.