The Origins of Thanksgiving Day
To whom are we to offer thanksgiving? The Indians? The Pilgrims? Buddha? Muhammad? ACLU? Planned Parenthood? Maybe just to practice a little gratefulness? Let the very words of the Founding Fathers inform us of the direction of their gratitude:
1.In the summer of 1620, the English settlers left Europe in the Mayflower bound for the fledgling Virginia colony. Instead, they were blown off-course to Plymouth Rock at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The records of William Bradford, governor of Plymouth
Plantation, describe the Pilgrims' arrival in November 1620:
“Being thus arrived in a good harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element.”
2.Two years later, Gov. Bradford publicly proclaimed another Thanksgiving celebration for Nov. 29, 1623, asking
“that all Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at the meeting house ... there to listen to the pastor and render thanksgiving to Almighty God for all His blessings.”
3.November 1,1777- Continental Congress issued The First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving, extending to all colonies, as a result of their victory at Saratoga
In this proclamation they “…recommended to the legislative and executive powers of the United States, to set apart Thursday, the Eighteenth day of December next, for the solemn thanksgiving and praise:”
“Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him…”
“That with one heart and one voice the good people…may join the penitent confession of their manifold sins, whereby they forfeited every favour, and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of remembrance;”
“That it may please Him, to prosper the trade and manufactures of the people…and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth “in righteous, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
4.During the period of 1779-1781, Thomas Jefferson served as Governor of Virginia, where he proclaimed a day of Public solemn Thanksgiving and prayer to Almighty God.
5.The Continental Congress October 18, 1780 issued a Proclamation for a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer, after the plot of Benedict Arnold was unveiled.
6.On November 8, 1783, governor John Hancock, from Boston, Massachusetts, issued A Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving to celebrate the conclusion of the Revolutionary War.
7.On October 19, 1781, the British troops under Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown. The following day General George Washington called for a day of thanksgiving to God.
8.John Langdon, as President (Governor) of New Hampshire, made an official proclamation for a General Thanksgiving on October 21, 1785. Langdon had a goal of putting a Bible into every home in New Hampshire.
9.The Congress of the United States September 25, 1789, unanimously approved a resolution asking President Washington to proclaim a National Day of Thanksgiving:
To Your Abundance,
Pastor Derrick Jackson
P.S. This tidbit originates with historian William Federer
“People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but they’re unwilling to improve themselves; therefore, they remain bound.” - James Allen
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