In a nationally published magazine, I read, “Thanksgiving is a good time to stop and remember the importance of saying, “Thank you.” Not just once a year, but every day, to all those who help make our lives and businesses possible.” As I read the article, I found myself looking for some mention of God—I was disappointed. Would we, as a nation, leave God out of another holiday that was instituted for His glory and praise?
Some say that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, by forty Colonists and their Indian friends at the Plymouth Colony, to give thanks for the harvest. Two years later, Thanksgiving was again celebrated with an official proclamation by Governor Bradford that began, “Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest…, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, …has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience…”
On November 26, 1789 President George Washington issued yet another Thanksgiving Day proclamation. He said, “Whereas, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; …a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God…”
Though Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, and a Deist, refused to issue a proclamation of Thanksgiving, in 1828, Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale began campaigning for the restoration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Finally in 1863, President Lincoln listened seriously to her plea, and proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the National Thanksgiving Day which was ratified by the Congress in 1941.
Would you join me this year in the reinstitution of Thanksgiving for the purpose of Praise to God for His merciful bounty to us as a nation?