What are the Historical Roots of Thanksgiving?

What are the Historical Roots of Thanksgiving?

“Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.” – Psalm 107:8-9

As you celebrate this Thanksgiving, please revisit the Christian roots of this uniquely American [Holy]day. Consider this 1789 quote from president Washington establishing our first national day of Thanksgiving: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789… that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.”

President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 set the last Thursday in November as the official national Thanksgiving holiday saying, “We are prone to forget the Source from which [the blessings of fruitful years and healthful skies] come… 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… I do, therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States… to observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father. Who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Click here for our quick reference sheet on the history of Thanksgiving in America. As you celebrate Thanksgiving, please read the Scripture and primary source quotes in our sheet and incorporate it throughout the day.

May the Lord abundantly bless you and keep you as you give thanks to Him for all His good and perfect gifts.

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