By Josiah Espinoza | November 22nd, 2018
Thanksgiving is upon us and families everywhere will reunite to spend time with one another to make new memories and to eat delicious food. Foods such as turkey, ham, fruits and vegetables, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, pumpkin pie, and so much more. But where did this holiday come from?
The “First Thanksgiving” was held in 1621. The newly settled Pilgrims ate with the Wampanoag Indians and enjoyed a large feast where they all ate similar meals to the ones we eat today. However, that was not when this wonderful national holiday was officially established.
Before America gained its liberty in 1776, celebrating Thanksgiving in November was already a long held tradition. In 1777 the Continental Congress declared the first national American Thanksgiving. Then in 1789 President George Washington proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving on November 26th, a Tuesday, where they gave national thanks for the U.S. Constitution. It wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln gave a very famous proclamation in 1863 where he made the last Thursday of November the official National Holiday. Abraham Lincoln’s Proclomation of Thanksgiving stated:
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath 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, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea 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 dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”
In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law making the fourth Thursday the official day of Thanksgiving.
One thing is plainly understood, from the “First Thanksgiving” to Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation, Thanksgiving was a time to be thankful to God. Today be thankful for what God has granted you. Your life, your blessings and your well being are all gifts of the Almighty God who has granted them to you in his benevolent providence. Be thankful for how much God has blessed us and America, though America is more wicked and disobedient then ever before. Give praise to the Almighty God, who has loved us, cared for us and provided for us. Make God the primary reason you gather together today. Glorify God in you festivities, in your merriment, in your eating and in your drinking. Give thanks to God for he is good, just and righteous. Amen.
Psalm 100:4-5- Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations