Yes and No. As with many traditions, secularism and consumerism have hijacked what had traditionally been a day for America to reflect on the blessings God had bestowed on Americans and their nation. In 1619, as a requirement of their charter, English settlers at Berkley Plantation in Virginia observed the first official Thanksgiving in the America.

Yes and No. As with many traditions, secularism and consumerism have hijacked what had traditionally been a day for America to reflect on the blessings God had bestowed on Americans and their nation. In 1619, as a requirement of their charter, English settlers at Berkley Plantation in Virginia observed the first official Thanksgiving in America.

Two years later, some 50 Pilgrims in Plymouth Massachusetts were joined by 100 natives in what is traditionally thought of as the first Thanksgiving. The multi-day feast was to celebrate God’s hand in their survival through the harsh first winter during which half of their number perished. That survival was aided by Squanto, an English-speaking native, who helped the Pilgrims fish and plant corn.

Much later, in 1789, President George Washington, floated the idea of a national day of thanksgiving, and, with the approval of Congress, asked the nation to set aside Thursday, November 26 as

“a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Years later, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father.” That tradition continued until Congress, in 1941, officially established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

Today, many people associate Thanksgiving with family, food, and football and planning their Black Friday shopping. They often leave out the giving of thanks to God for everything they have. Regardless of how they celebrate it, Thanksgiving is much more than a Christian holiday, it is universal to all. It is a day when everyone can

“Give thanks to the LORD, because he is good. His faithful love continues forever”

(1 Chronicles 16:34)

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