Thursday, November 27, 2008

WHENCE THANKSGIVING?


I listened with interest and wonder as a newscaster proclaimed how he "...loved Thanksgiving because it came with no religious baggage."

Actually, it comes with plenty of Christian "baggage."

To begin with, the first thanksgiving meal was very like a church covered dish dinner.

The party lasted three days.

Now THAT's my kind of covered dish dinner!

It was held by the Mayflower survivors, of the Plymouth Plantation, after their first harvest, and was a celebration of food and feasting in the fall of 1621.

Indian chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event.

It was a day of thanksgiving to God.

Not to the Indians, as is often taught today, but to God for His provision.

Originally, the band of settlers had lived in Great Britain.

Unhappy because they were pressured to become part of the Church of England, and wanting to worship God in theie own way, they left the country and went to Holland.

Holland's politico/religious climate was not all it was cracked up to be, so they finally set sail for the New World, where they would have freedom of worship.

There were many hardships and illnesses, both at sea and when they reached what is now Plymoth Rock.

They held regular prayer meetings and worship services, asking God to bless their homes and their crops.

The harvest of 1621 was bountiful, leading to the covered dish affair mentioned above.

During the 1700s, it was common practice for individual colonies to observe days of thanksgiving throughout each year.

A Thanksgiving Day two hundred years ago was a day set aside for prayer and fasting, not a day marked by plentiful food and drink as is today's custom.

In 1789, George Washington issued a Thanksgiving Decree entitled "General Thanksgiving." The decree appointed the day "to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God."

Here is the complete text of the proclamation:

General Thanksgiving
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; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me "to recommend to the people of the United States a
DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
In 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November.
So there you have it.
A holiday rooted in Christianity still celebrated, but fewer and fewer people know why.
But now YOU know why.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

12 comments:

Mustang said...

First of all, please accept my best wishes to you and yours for a very Happy Thanksgiving. No matter what its origin, it is a time to gather with our families and give thanks for His beneficence. Without God’s blessings, we would be nothing.

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebration, brought here from the old country. Our forefathers recognized it as a time to give thanks for the annual harvest, and to express gratitude for the food that would sustain them through the winter months.

The dates and whereabouts of the first Thanksgiving celebration are a matter of conjecture, and I suppose . . . what we choose to believe. The earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida, but we venerate our traditional "first Thanksgiving" as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The important thing to recall is that without God’s blessings, we would be a miserable lot across many levels.

Again, may God bless you and your loved ones.

Jennifer said...

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!

Tapline said...

Joe, thanks for the lession in History. It always helps to drive home a point with historical facts. Have a great day....stay well..

Joe said...

mustang: Of course the St. Augustine Thanksgiving is among the first, but I was really noting the first of the steps toward America's governmental recognition of Thanksgiving Day.

Hope you had a blessed Day!

Joe said...

Jennifer: Thank you. We had a beaut!

Tapline: Sometimes the facts get burried under PC stuff, so I thought I help. Thanks...I hope you had a great Thanksgiving Day.

Robert said...

Hope you guys had a great day! I know I did, topped off with a family visit and some time with a new friend.

It was a great day to forget bad economies and national debt...

Walts World said...

Hey Joe and family, have a wonderful holiday.

mainstream-damus said...

Thanksgiving has to be one of our top two Holidays.

And the interesting thing is that much like our government, Thankgiving wasn't founded on Christian principles.

After all, Christ is never mentioned or even faintly alluded to by GW in the procalamation above, nor any founding government document, and you kinda need at least a nod to Christ for anything to be Christian.

Makes me proud to be an American! We can all woprship God in our own way and respect the beliefs of one another.

And many of us can recognize that the respect and worship of our one and only God makes all of us his/her Son. And all of us sisters and brothers.

And those that don't? Well, if they lead a virtuous life God Bless 'em! And if they don't? Well, they need our friendship. And as long as they respect life, I think they're going to a good place along with us.

Our very limited attempt to know Him reflects the spark of the creator in all of us - it makes us all sons and daughters of God along with Jesus Christ, our most important role model.

And over a thanksgiving meal we can we can look into the curious and optimistic eyes of our young ones -- and see the reflection of God.

Joe said...

mainstream-damus: "Thankgiving wasn't founded on Christian principles."

That is a bald-faced lie.

You, as usual, have no absolutely, positively no idea what you are talking about. Absolutely none. You are as wrong as wrong can be in your conslusions.

Taken in the context of the total of his writings, GW was indeed talking about Christ, for to the Christian, which he was one, Christ and God are 100% the same.
100%. Totally. It is a basic foundation of the Christian faith and is indisputable.

To the "religious" person, the agnostic and the atheist, such a thing is beyond understanding, but to the Chrisian it is so.

I John 1 makes it clear, as does, Hebrews 1:2 and literally dozens of other Scriptures.

mainstream-menias said...

Huh?

"Taken in the context of the total of his writings, GW was indeed talking about Christ, for to the Christian, which he was one, Christ and God are 100% the same.
100%. Totally. It is a basic foundation of the Christian faith and is indisputable."

Talking about God is not the same as being a Christian. Unless, of course, you want to make ALL UNITARIANS CHRISTAINS.

I don't think that's what you intend.

Sorry Joe. Christians talk about Christ when they talk about their beliefs. It sent them to their death early on, and it defines them till this day.

That's nonsense Joe. You don't say Christ, you don't mean Christ.

Ask any Christian.

Joe said...

mainstream-menias: Sorry, son, you don't know that of which you write.

While it is true that Christians talk about Christ, and He is the Cornerstone of our faith, He claimed that He and God are One.

In fact, the Pharasees understood that, and THAT is what enraged them to the point of demanding that the Romans crucify Him.

I am NOT unitarian, I am Trinitarian, but I know that each "person" of the God-head is the exact representation of God.

Jesus said, "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father."

Romans 10:9 says that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

The word used in the Greek is "kurios" (transliterated), and means "Lord," with a capital "L."

"That's nonsense Joe. You don't say Christ, you don't mean Christ.
Ask any Christian."

Trust me. I AM one and have been since I was 16 years old (I'm 66 years old now).

I have served as a Baptist minister since I was 17.

I know EXACTLY what I mean and what I am talking about.

In fact, EVERY word of the Bible is God's revelation of Himself as one God manafested as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, His character, His love for His creation and His plan for its redemption (Christ)

Not to understand that is to miss the entire point of Scripture.

When a true Christian says "God," he understands that he is talking about all three persons of the Trinity.

The Gospel of John starts out by afirming that Jesus (who is called, "Word" from the Greek "Logos") is the one who created all that is.

Hebrews 1:2 says, "...he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe."

Genesis 1 tells us that God created the universe.

If God created the universe, and if Jesus created the universe, then God and Jesus must be one.

David Wyatt said...

Amen bro. Joe! (Heb.1:8-9) points out the perfect, razor-sharp accuracy of the Bible too! Jesus IS God, yet He became Man, to save us & v.9 points out that He, though God, also HAS a God! Awesome!