The forth Thursday of November each year marks the national day of thanks for our nation. The first Thanksgiving meal was shared during an autumn harvest feast in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts between the first Colonists and the Wampanoag tribe. George Washington called for national day of thanks on the last Thursday of November to commemorate the end of the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the Constitution.
But it wasn’t until 1839 at the height of the Civil War that Abraham Lincoln officially established Thanksgiving. Abraham Lincoln proclaimed on October 3, 1863:
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to 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.”
Finally, in 1941 Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that carries with it many traditions. Chances are good that your family growing up had its own share of annual traditions such as gathering for a big family meal, sharing things you are thankful for, or maybe even playing a pick-up game of football. If you started your own family you’ve probably already established your own traditions.
No matter what your traditions may be, we can all take the time to pause and set aside a Day of Thanks. We have so much to be thankful for.
“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Pslam 118:24
Consider making a list of the things you are thankful for. Then take the time to recognize the people you are thankful for. Visit that person, write a card, send an email, or make a phone call to tell that person, "Thank You." Take time to thank God for his love for you and the blessings He has given you.
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever!”1 Chronicles 16:34
This year, find an American Warrior and tell him or her, “Thank You!” Show your gratitude for what her or she has done to serve this great Nation. Or even take a step further and look for a way to give back to your nation. Don’t just say “thanks” with your words, but show thanks with you actions! Show others what it means to truly be thankful!