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History of Thanksgiving

A history of Thanksgiving — Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving across the United States of America, Much of the historical knowledge of this holiday has been largely ignored or forgotten — so please give me a moment to share some interesting tidbits with you.

  • Thanksgiving was a celebration of praise to God Almighty, thanking him for the bountiful harvest He had provided, as well as for His mercies on their journey, and for their continued safety. It was an expression of their freedom to worship Him as they pleased. Governor William Bradford invited Indian chief Massasoit and many of his people to this three-day feast. Squanto, the Pilgrim’s translator and friend, was present as well — this was in 1621.
  • The pilgrims who had come to America left all behind them, including their financial fortune, in order to worship God as they saw fit, not as the Church of England demanded. They sacrificed all, in the name of freedom to worship God.
  • The pilgrims had come to the new world to live freely, and worship God — not to pillage gold, nor to steal from & kill the natives living there. Disney’s politically-correct, factually-inaccurate Pocahontas movie couldn’t have been more wrong if they had tried.
  • The pilgrims were the world’s first socialists! They initially tried a communal system, where everyone held the land in common, and all the products of their labor where divided equally amongst the community. It was an abject failure.
  • William Bradford, governor, realized the failure of their communal enterprise, and assigned a plot of land to each family — with the produce from that land belonging to that family. It was a rousing success, and the bounty from that harvest led to the first Thanksgiving feast.
  • Three years after the Pilgrims’ arrival and just two years after their first Thanksgiving, on November 29, 1623, Plymouth colony Gov. William Bradford made this official, politically incorrect, proclamation:”To all ye Pilgrims:Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat peas, beans, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our conscience, now I proclaim that all ye Pilgrims … render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all his blessings.”
  • On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts unanimously voted to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. Part of the proclamation read as follows:”… and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ.”
  • On November 1, 1777, the first official national recognition of Thanksgiving was given, declared by the Continental Congress after Burgoyne’s defeat at Saratoga. The defeat of Burgoyne and his army came following a grueling campaign that began with the British victory at Ticonderoga and America’s leaders desired to express thanks to God for the victory.
  • On October 3, 1789, George Washington, during his first year as president, set aside Thursday, November 26, as “A Day of Publick Thanksgiving anf Prayer.” This official decree by the government determined that the day should “be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.” (so much for the “constitutional” separation of church and state)
  • On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation distinguishing the fourth Tuesday of November as a national Thanksgiving holiday. President Lincoln also declared days of Thanksgiving for Sunday, April 13 – following the Union victory at Shiloh – and August 6, 1863, in recognition of the Union’s success at Gettysburg.Mr. Lincoln’s October 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation read, in part: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.”
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