Posted in Christian History

Traditional Thanksgiving

Most Americans picture Native Americans and Pilgrims sitting together for the first Thanksgiving celebration. All of us drew pictures and read stories about such events because of the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving Feast of 1621.

Other people, who love their historical trivia, would claim that Thanksgiving wasn’t an official American holiday until President Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation. After the victory at Gettysburg, Lincoln declared that a national day of thanksgiving would be observed on the fourth Thursday of November.

If it’s all about eating, of course a man invented it. Then he added marathons of football games to make it even more “up his alley.”

However, the American tradition of an official holiday for giving thanks was the pet project of a woman. Sara Joseph Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine and Godey’s Lady’s Book began pushing for such a holiday in 1827. Her efforts included stories, recipes and scores of letters to elected officials – from governors to presidents.

It wasn’t meant to be just a day for overindulging in our favorite foods and lying in front of a television watching football. It was meant to be a day of prayer and thanksgiving in remembrance of the Lord’s blessings.

His blessings are too numerous to count and an attempt at listing them would result in a paper and ink shortage. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – all American values – are gifts from our Heavenly Father.

If you can join with your family for a dinner on November 28, 2013, be thankful; many people cannot. A golden turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings graces your table; be grateful since some people (even in America) will have nothing to eat.

That’s only two blessings and we know that’s only a scratch on the surface of a tradition that is well over four centuries old.

“In every thing give thanks” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Up next week: Biblical Thanksgiving

Source: Encyclopedia Smithsonian



Freelance writer and editor whose background in education and BA in English Language & Literature amps her love of all things books. Twenty years of parenting and 26 of marriage gives unique insight to her preferred audiences of women, young adults, and teenagers.

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