THANKSGIVING IN AMERICA 101…

Next week we are heading out to our sons house, we’re gathering with our family for THANKSGIVING DAY.  I love this time of year.  I’m making a list to pack right now for those days with the kids.

OH WOW… The menu is in the making! I can just see it in my mind and taste it right now. It will look something like this, you know what I mean, you going to have yours too!!!……

My mind is wondering this morning about where this day of celebration called THANKSGIVING DAY really began. I want to know the real meaning besides a time of having a table full of food,
kids getting out of school for a long weekend……………and heaven forbid, all the talk about Black Friday, the AFTER THANKSGIVING SALE, …….I avoid!!!….

Started looking around the internet for my answer.  I ran across an interesting woman who researched and wrote about where it all started.  Makes for a good read to  jump start us in getting back on course for the real reason we celebrate this day of THANKSGIVING. As you read this play “lets pretend” with me and think of being there when all this was declared…..

*What is the real meaning behind Thanksgiving? Catherine Millard writes:  
We can trace this historic American Christian tradition to the year 1623. After the harvest crops were gathered in November 1623, Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony, “Plymouth Plantation” in Plymouth, Massachusetts proclaimed:

    “All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings.”

This is the origin of our annual Thanksgiving Day celebration. Congress of the United States has proclaimed National Days of Thanksgiving to Almighty God many times throughout the following years. On November 1, 1777, by order of Congress, the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation was proclaimed, and signed by Henry Laurens, President of Continental Congress. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was thus officially set aside:

“…for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor;… and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them (their manifold sins) out of remembrance… That it may please Him… to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth of ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’…”

Then again, on January 1, 1795, our first United States President, George Washington, wrote his famed National Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he says that it is…

 “…… our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced…”

Thursday, the 19th day of February, 1795 was thus set aside by George Washington as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

Many years later, on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, by Act of Congress, an annual National Day of Thanksgiving “on the last Thursday of November, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” In this Thanksgiving proclamation, our 16th President says that it is…

   “…announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own… 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…”

 ……… So it is that on Thanksgiving Day each year, Americans give thanks to Almighty God for all His blessings and mercies toward us throughout the year….

When you pray this year around your table remember to add how grateful we are for our forefathers declaring this day a day of THANKSGIVING.  Give thanks to our Almighty God, the creator of the universe for His blessings and for the men and women who are not with their families on that day serving our country that we might have freedom. 

Pray our country will continue to stand on these values!!!

* Author: Catherine Millard. Text excerpted from A Children’s Companion Guide to America’s History, Horizon House Publishers, Camp Hill Pennsylvania.)

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