Now thank we all our God
In the midst of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had the nation set aside the 4th Thursday in November "as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." Thus began the modern version of the holiday still celebrated on the the 4th Thursday of November.
Of course there were Thanksgivings long before 1863. The one we most look back towards is the 3 day feast at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. We love the pilgrim epic. But I still don't get why they wore their belts on their hats!
There are 2 other contenders for the 1st Thanksgiving: one in St. Augustine, FL in 1532 and another near Jamestown, VA at Berkley Hundred in 1619. Neither of these make the childrens' books.
What began as a sacred state sanctioned holiday has over the many years become secularized or at the very least the prayer and praise part have fallen into disuse.
Henry Ironside once said "We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction."
He was not speaking about the holiday, yet it speaks to the original spirit of the day in a surprising way. Even if one does not fear God, I'd think that having a gratiful attitude would do wonders to the person. The double Ds, discontent and dissatisfaction, run rampant over our country. No doubt we are facing tough times and pessimism allies itself with the Ds. How great a disaster it would be if not a word of thanks be given on Thanksgiving.
Keep up the good fight and give thanks!
More interesting Thanksgiving quotes here.