Who started Thanksgiving? Well, that is certainly debatable, as people from the Pilgrims to the present day have celebrated special feasts, giving thanks to God for His watchcare and provision.
George Washington, on October 3, 1789, proclaimed that Thursday, November 26 would be a day of thanksgiving to the Lord.
Abraham Lincoln must have liked that idea, as he proclaimed a national holiday for the purpose of “thanksgiving and praise” for the last Thursday of every November.
In the interim, different states held various special days of thanksgiving.
One of the great things about America is this holiday. Our founding fathers, though many were deists and not true believers in Jesus as Savior, recognized God’s providence in the affairs of men. They understood that a reliance on the Lord was vital for the country’s wellbeing. Our presidents set aside a special day for thanksgiving and praise—to God.
Canada and England celebrate similar Thanksgiving Days.
As many of you know, we lived more than thirty-six years in Spain. They don’t have Thanksgiving, but you can be sure that many Americans in Spain celebrate it the best they can along with fellow Americans and invited friends.
Why is it so important to Americans? Of course, there are the wonderful, traditional foods. It’s our excuse to bake pumpkin pies, roast turkeys, and make green bean casseroles. But, it is much deeper and appeals to the essence of being American. We want to be together and give thanks. Recognition that God deserves our gratefulness is why this day is so important, maybe especially when one doesn’t live in his home country.
I read a decree from a state governor that outlaws people going to others’ homes to celebrate Thanksgiving. We are not in that state, and I’m wondering what kind of outcry will come from his action. How can one outlaw Thanksgiving?
The first president instituted it, and the sixteenth made it a national holiday.
To me, Thanksgiving is also about family. For thirty-six years, my whole family has gathered around tables and celebrated without us. Lord willing, this year, we will not be the missing ones from the photos. We will be with family, praising and thanking God for bringing us together again.
No one can outlaw a true Thanksgiving.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name (Psalm 100:4).
What does Thanksgiving Day mean to you?