Although Thanksgiving was first observed here in America following the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock in 1620, George Washington, the first President of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day on October 3, 1789. The decree appointed the day “to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America A PROCLAMATION –“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 favour … rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for his kind care and protection of the people of this country”.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln urged all Americans to set aside the last Thursday of November to give thanks and praise to God the Father who dwelleth in heaven.
On October 27, 1961, quoting from the Bible, President Kennedy proclaimed “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord” (Psalm 92:1, KJV). He urged all citizens to make Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation, reverence and prayer.
Americans all over the country will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. What was once a celebration of thanksgiving to God for provision, and prayer for forgiveness, for many today, it has become secular, a holiday from their labors.
Thanksgiving is even becoming an anomaly in stores and businesses today in favor of being politically correct. As I was checking out at a store register yesterday, the employee at the cash register said to me “Have a nice holiday”. This would be the “politically correct” thing to say; certainly not “Happy Thanksgiving”, lest I offend someone. But I guess wishing someone a nice holiday sounds better than wishing them a happy day off. As I could have replied the same, I instead wished her a “Happy Thanksgiving”.
I often wake early in the morning. It was around 4 am the other day that I awoke. I could not return to sleep, so I turned on my radio to Dr. Charles Stanley who was sharing a message on “Overflowing with Gratitude”. Thankfulness is a choice, and that which we are thankful for should be an outgrowth of one’s relationship with Christ.
So, tomorrow, as we thank God for good health, family, and turkey and stuffing, those who acknowledge God as the source of every provision and blessing in their life, let’s also be thankful for the many benefits we receive as children of God – for the peace of God in our heart, for our salvation and promise of our eternal home in heaven, for the Word of God, and God’s unconditional love for us.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Copyright 2015 by Bill Hutzel
Related Post: THANKSGIVING, November 2014