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Written By: Jon Friedt on November 24, 2022
Psalm 126:3 The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.
Read Psalm 106:1-15
The giving of thanks should be done by everyone, everywhere but Thanksgiving – the holiday, is an American Holiday. Most nations of the earth have a day set aside to celebrate their nation’s birth or some other milestone in their nation’s history but I am very blessed to realize that our nation, The United States of America, has set aside a specific day to give honor and glory to God in recognizing His mighty hand and His favor in the formation of this nation.
On Thursday, November 26, 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation for “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” Beginning in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln encouraged Americans to recognize the last Thursday of November as “a day of Thanksgiving.” On November 28, 1940, Representative Allen Treadway of Massachusetts made a plea on the House Floor for Congress to set the last Thursday of November as the legal holiday for Thanksgiving. (source: History.House.gov)
The origins of this now-American Holiday go back even further.
In the late 1300s, through the 1400s and 1500s, there were a handful of scripture translations being written in “the common man’s” language. As the people began to become “enlightened”, this created huge problems for the establishment. There was a large segment of faithful believers that sought to purify the Anglican church from within. They hoped that the Anglican church was not without hope but through repentance, it could be restored. This group became known as the Puritans. In their efforts to correct the King of his sinful lifestyle and the governing Catholic/Anglican church leadership of their ungodly exercise of authority and misuse of scripture, they found themselves under great persecution. Around 1600, there was a group of devout believers in Jesus and the inerrant truth of scripture that separated themselves from the Anglican church. They became known as the Separatists or Protestors (Protestants). They desired to go to “The New World” and establish a new society for followers of the Bible and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In September 1620, 102 passengers plus the crew set sail from Plymouth, England on a merchant ship named the Mayflower. The ship normally carried goods but this time it was people on a mission to establish a new society of Biblical living.
After 66 days at sea, they arrived at the tip of Cape Cod (Provincetown) on November 9, 1621. All 102 Pilgrims survived the voyage.
Because they were not in their intended destination of northern Virginia, their patent from the king was non-binding. They recognized the only chance to survive was unity, so they drafted the Mayflower Compact. On November 11, 1620, 41 men agreed to be bound by this rule of law they themselves had drafted. This was monumental in history. The Magna Carta was a governing document signed by a ruler and his subjects. However, the Mayflower Compact was the first time a group of equal common people constituted a governmental agreement of, by, and for themselves.
They stayed on the ship at night for nearly a month while teams explored the Cape searching for the best location for a settlement. After a month of exploration on December 16, 1620, they chose and began building at modern-day Plymouth. It would have been then that they may have set foot on Plymouth Rock.
47 died of illness over the first winter, but when Captain Jones offered them FREE passage back to England to save their lives, not one returned.
In what I believe was another miracle from God, almost simultaneously with the Mayflower’s departure, the Pilgrims were befriended by an English-speaking Indian (who loved white people) named Squanto! Squanto saved their lives by teaching them how to farm and hunt in the New World and serving as a translator in developing relationships with other tribes. It was in the Fall of 1621, likely in conjunction with the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, they celebrated the First Thanksgiving.
No one takes that type of risk lightly. They knew it was by a Divine Purpose that they go.
It is no surprise that the devil and the enemies of America abroad and within would seek to rewrite or erase the history of Thanksgiving. Without the history of Thanksgiving after that first survived winter of the passengers of the Mayflower, the establishment of this New World is all about money, merchants, stealing territory, and slavery. Those things may have happened but they were not the founding of The United States of America, but rather they were the things driven out over decades and centuries of dedication and great sacrifice of godly men and women.
Thanksgiving today has become commercialized like many other things. It is often referred to as Turkey Day and centers around abundant feasts. It’s certainly not all bad… Our American society celebrates family and the general abundance of food. People become more mindful of those in need and generosity increases. However, the focus of gratitude is very quickly shifted to shopping and the great deals that can be had through “Black Friday Sales”.
Don’t misunderstand me, I’m Thankful for food. Thankful for family. Thankful for a home. Thankful for good health. All these things are good and right, It could be that we scrounge around for food. That we struggle to find basic needs and provisions. But America is abundantly blessed. We were the most prosperous nation in history, not the prosperity of the government but of the people.
Being thankful is not so much about “thankful for what” but “THANKFUL TO WHO????” Our society has shifted towards self. Honoring self. Honoring each other. We should honor and appreciate one another. But the heart of Thanksgiving is toward the Lord Jesus Christ, His mighty hand, and the mercies of God towards a people who honor Him.
THANKSGIVING: To God be the Glory!!!
Thanksgiving is honor and appreciation to God. Thanksgiving TO GOD is vital for the returned morality, respectability, and prosperity of our nation. Without the recognition of the divine work of God, mankind is handed over to its own demise. I pray for you and me that we hold fast to the traditions and the knowledge of what this American Holiday is about. THANKSGIVING: To God be the Glory!!!
Source credit: Paul Blair & David Barton