FEATURED

COMMENTARY

FEATURED | At What Point Does Life Begin?

Commentary

Nov
21

THANKSGIVING: AN ANNUAL REMINDER OF OUR CHRISTIAN HERITAGE

By

(A Thanksgiving Message from the Clapham Society)

What does the Thanksgiving Holiday say about America? First, let’s take a look at some Thanksgiving references from our history.

*One of the earliest traditional references is that of the Thanksgiving observance that occurred in the autumn of 1621 by a gathering of Pilgrims and their Indian friends. They came together after enduring many hardships in the new world to give thanks to Almighty God for His help in bringing them through and granting a bountiful harvest.

*In 1789, with the full consent of Congress, George Washington became the first President to proclaim a national day of Thanksgiving, marking November 26th “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.” It is of interest to note that America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred with the commencement of the federal government. It was the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights (From Wallbuilders).

*In 1863, in a speech written by Secretary of State William Seward, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be considered an official U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving:

[Excerpt from speech] “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. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

*In 1941, following the tradition set forth by President Abraham Lincoln, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

So, what do these references say About America? That America, from its beginning, has time and time again established and confirmed its acknowledgement of Almighty God as the Author of life and blessing, particularly so in His establishing of, and ongoing work within, the borders of this great land and with the daily lives and activities of the several generations of its people. That, regardless of the individual creeds of its varied citizenship, America has consistently made public declarations of its fealty to Almighty God and His Truth. The Thanksgiving Holiday by God’s Sovereign Hand has been officially put in place as an annual reminder of who we are, or at least have been, as a Nation. A solemn note: One source I looked up regarding Thanksgiving made this statement: “Historically, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition. Today, Thanksgiving is primarily celebrated as a secular holiday.” This is an indictment against our society. For logic has to incredulously ask, how can “Thanksgiving” be secular? And whether it is so recognized or not, every American who celebrates Thanksgiving is agreeing with this proclamation of truth and bearing of its responsibility.

I close with a story of God’s response to a humble and praying people from the earlier years of the Pilgrims:

“In 1623 the Pilgrims were experiencing an extended and prolonged drought. Governor William Bradford called the Pilgrims to a time of prayer and fasting to seek God’s direct intervention. Significantly, shortly after that time of prayer-and to the great amazement of the Indians who witnessed the scene-clouds appeared in the sky and a gentle and steady rain began to fall (from Wallbuilders).”

During this Thanksgiving season, may we again remember from whence our help and blessings come and turn to the One who will hear the cries of those who seek Him and will answer them.

From Clapham, Happy Thanksgiving everyone…and may God bless America and its people as we again turn to Him in humility and gratefulness!

Daniel Tostenson
The Clapham Society

Categories : Christian Worldview

Leave a Reply