The History Of Thanksgiving
The history of Thanksgiving is marked by the joyous tradition begun by brave Pilgrims during their first year in the New World. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims and their Indian friends offered grateful voices of praise to God for their first, bountiful harvest as they gathered together in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Thanksgiving history bears note of the enduring gratitude of the little band of English settlers who lost half their colony to death even before they made their event into the book of records on that bright day in autumn. As Christians remember the event, the undaunted heroes of national and Christian heritage have been a continuing example of faith for extreme times and that is celebrated even today throughout North America.
The events span several centuries wide and have reflected a special courage and Christian quality of thankfulness that is woven throughout the Scriptures. Exemplified through the history of Thanksgiving is Philippians 4:6,7a which exhorts Christians to "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God...shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Clinging tightly to their convictions in spite of loss, loneliness and pain, the early Pilgrims transcended all trials through faith in an Almighty God in whom they could trust. Test your knowledge of Thanksgiving history by taking our quiz!
God is delighted in all thankfulness to Him, especially in the hard times. That was what motivated the early settlers of the New World to make Thanksgiving history by setting aside a day filled with gratitude for their fall bounty. The history of Thanksgiving is special to believers today because it is an encouragement to be grateful to an awesome, loving God Who sees our need before we know it! The meaning may be lost on the world at times, but the example remains unchangeable. The historical event is abundant with stories of real people who lost everything, yet could praise Him through it all.
An authentic perspective of what the event truly represents is more than just a harvest party among a bunch of stuffy, prudish Pilgrims and naive, native Indians! The history of Thanksgiving is born from people who obviously knew more hardship than ease. Those Pilgrims still saw God's abundant blessings and actively praised Him which has made Thanksgiving history worthy of remembrance. "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20).
True Thanksgiving facts can open our eyes to what the celebration is really all about. This information includes details about the Puritan sect from England. The Puritans, a religious sect of Christians who were the Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock, celebrated thankfully in a reverence to God who they credited for their blessings and their hardships. The Puritans strived to live a godly life, one that would closely resemble Christ, and the Puritans held their beliefs from their interpretations of the Bible. The Pilgrims that survived the first harsh winter on American soil had much to be thankful for, even in the suffering that they had experienced. Thanksgiving facts will reveal to researchers that the Pilgrims and the settlers after them, were acting upon thankfulness in the Biblical traditions.
Thankfulness in God's Word is a major theme throughout. But, the actual first official ceremony of Thanksgiving in the Bible is listed in Leviticus 7:11-15. "And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he shall offer unto the Lord. If he offer it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the sacrifice of thanksgiving unleavened cakes mingled with oil, and unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and cakes mingled with oil, of fine flour, fried." God ordained a practice of specific instructions to show gratitude. Clearly, gratitude is the door that opens peace in our hearts. God's design for mankind is that giving thanks means receiving peace. Giving thanks in the Bible is the formula to peace because when we are truly thankful to God, we are expressing our trust in Him.
The theme of thanks in the Bible continues from the commanded thanksgiving sacrifices to the beautifully written Psalms of praise and thanks to our Lord. "Praise ye the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever." (Psalm 106:1) And, Thanksgiving in the Bible continues to be practiced with Christ, giving thanks at the Lord's supper. Paul the Apostle wrote many times of his gratitude to Christ and for his gratitude to the followers of Christ. "I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers." (Philemon 1:4)
To celebrate a day of thanks is to take a day and clearly honor God in praise for the enormous blessings He has bestowed upon our land. As Thanksgiving facts reveal a Biblical foundation, we know that this holiday must have more to do with honoring God than any other fact. When we look back at history, thanksgiving in the Bible, and the celebration that first took place in this country, we find that God's people are to turn their hearts to Him, thanking Him for all things in all circumstances. Perhaps one of the most quoted scriptures in the New Testament says it best. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7)
Thanksgiving PrayerA Thanksgiving prayer is the most appropriate part of the entire holiday celebration. A prayer can be a beautifully written or spoken expression of a family's heartfelt thanks to God for all that He has showered upon a family. There are ideas for a prayer and ideas for poems that will make a family's dinner or time together memorable, and these ideas can be found listed online through various Christian websites. Also, the Bible is full of prayers expressing gratitude and thanks and in the Psalms of the Old Testament, we find many a prayers thanking God expressed by the writer. The Psalms are Poems of Thanksgiving in and of themselves. This holiday season, if looking for the perfect Prayer or beautiful Poems, gather ideas from the history of this holiday and turn to your Bible for more inspiration.
Great ideas for a beautiful Thanksgiving prayer or Thanksgiving poems can be found throughout the Book of Psalms. "Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: and call unto Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." (Psalm 50:14-15) Many of the poems found throughout the Psalms are declarations of who God is and how we can depend upon Him. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be moved, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swellings thereof. Selah." (Psalm 46:1-3) Clearly, the heart of this grateful poem or song is appreciation in God's sovereignty.
Another example of a beautifully written Thanksgiving prayer is in the Book of Philippians which Paul the Apostle wrote in a letter. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 4:6-7) The most important thing to remember when planning a Thanksgiving prayer or writing Thanksgiving poems is that God finds any expression of gratitude from His children precious. Fancy or rhyming words, though beautiful, are not what please God. A heart found in the right condition is where God finds His glory and pleasures.
Take time to search Christian websites and take time to browse the Bible in the book of Psalms, finding inspiration for your own beautifully written Prayer of Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving poems to God. Share your treasures with friends and family, so that they can thank God for His work in you as well. This thankful season, let the richness of God's activity in your life leave you breathless, as you find the awesome truth of His love for you. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
Thanksgiving quotes from bygone eras as well as contemporary Sayings can offer moments of humor, reflection and encouragement during the holiday season. One of the famous quotes that have gone down in history has been a section of the public address that Abraham Lincoln gave upon his official declaration of the holiday during the Civil War. In 1863, he made this one of the most famous Thanksgiving sayings, "We have been recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown."
Thanksgiving quotes such as these have gone down in history to remind us of the blessings and provisions from an Almighty God who deserves our most sincere gratitude as a nation. There are many other lighter sayings that are more commonly used throughout our conversations during the holiday season such as, "Happy Turkey Day! and, "I can't choose my relatives but I can choose my friends!" Holiday quotes are an important part of many schools and educational institutions during the season in order to provide an historical perspective and reminder to American children of their heritage.
Of course, there are cross-cultural influences that add spice to our everyday Thanksgiving sayings such as the European saying, "Gratitude is the heart's memory." Many of us are not even aware of how many Thanksgiving quotes that we run across during the season that have their roots in distant cultures. Gratitude is something that we should all give and many quotes that are repeated and printed today were not originally inspired by our famous holiday. However, the universal message of our responsibility to be thankful is reflected in many cultures through everyday Thanksgiving sayings in America. Quotes such as one expressed by William Shakespeare adds emphases to the fact that people everywhere need to cultivate a grateful heart.
He said, "O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness." Thanksgiving sayings and quotes such as these have been reprinted and passed on from generation to generation. Many important holiday sayings can be sent to your friends and relatives through contemporary Thanksgiving greeting cards that add warmth to the holidays. However, no Holiday quotes are as meaningful and powerful as those taken from Scripture that are the basis for many other colloquial sayings. "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods." (Psalms 95:2-3)