Though thanksgiving is widely celebrated across the nation, its history is not so widely known.
- The first Thanksgiving lasted longer than a day.
The pilgrim’s first year in America was harsh. The colony suffered through the loss of half of the settlers to sickness. By God’s grace and the help of neighboring Native Americans they made it. To commemorate the anniversary of their landing and to express gratitude towards the Lord, Governor Bradford, called for a day of thanksgiving. It was attended by ninety Native Americans and as many Pilgrims. The celebration continued for three days and yes it even included sports.
- The first thanksgiving plate included Deer beside the Turkey
Some of the pilgrims were sent out to hunt wild turkey for the first thanksgiving feast. They were able to bring back enough turkey to feed the entire colony for a week. The Native Americans didn’t come empty handed either. They brought five deer. Pass the venison!
- Thanksgiving Day was originally for fasting, not feasting.
The last Thursday of November was declared to be a National Day of Thanksgiving by President Abraham Lincoln. The day was to be set aside for fasting, praying and repentance. The nation was in the middle of the Civil War and the union had suffered significantly. History marks Thanksgiving as the turning point of the war.Here is a portion from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation. Contrast that with our observance today.
“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, tranquility and Union.”
- Yes Thanksgiving does have a song, though most think it was for Christmas
Thanksgiving is much more than the holiday season’s opening act. It plays a special role of turning our eyes in gratitude back to our Heavenly Father in appreciation for his favor and blessing. It beckons us to look towards the Christ-child in where the true hope of humanity lay.Though there are not as many as Christmas, there are a few songs that were written specifically for Thanksgiving. Perhaps the most popular is “Over the River and Through the Wood” by Lydia Maria Child in 1844. Originally titled, “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day.”
- Thanksgiving day was moved in 1941, you’ll never believe the reason…
Dec. 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday to accommodate the nation’s businesses who complained about the loss of profitable selling days before Christmas during years where Thanksgiving fell on the fifth Thursday and shortened the shopping season.Before the 20th Century the roots of Thanksgiving was always understood to be one of deep spirituality and community. Over the years we’ve lost a lot of that as it has been commercialized.
This year let the true meaning for Thanksgiving find its way into your home. Let the Lord be the centerpiece of your celebration! Jenna and I pray and trust that you will have a very happy and joyous Thanksgiving. We are truly grateful for you.