The origin of Thanksgiving (Part 1)
With Thanksgiving next week I decided to qualify statements from “history lane” that have and are plaguing our nation.
Researching the origin of Thanksgiving, I reviewed both secular and Christian articles. To my surprise, the secular versions included in most all of them reference to the first pilgrims giving thanks to “God, “or the “Creator” for the bountiful harvest given to them once they landed here.
In late spring of 1621, Indians approached their camp. Surprisingly, the Indians had learned their English language from fisherman and traders allowing them to teach the foreigners about the land and how to cultivate it. One of the Indians became a Christian which aided in a treaty between the two groups. The Governor thanked God for bringing the Indians to them considering them to be “gifts sent from heaven.”
In an effort to produce much needed food, prayer and fasting was a way of life. By the end of that year, a feast was planned to thank God for providing for them. 90 Indians and around 50 pilgrims came together for this 3 day celebration.
Thanksgiving became an off and on holiday until it was given a proclamation by Congress and Presidents Washington, John Adams and eventually established by James Madison in 1815. By that year, many states did their own holidays and issued at least 1400 Prayer Proclamations.
President Lincoln became a Christian after the Battle of Gettysburg. Walking among the graves of 60,000 soldiers he gave his life to Christ. During his Thanksgiving address and his 2nd Inauguration in 1865 Lincoln was clear in the country’s need for prayer and fasting. Lincoln lost his son at Gettysburg which had a profound effect on his spiritual life.
These pilgrims left England for the sole purpose of freely exercising their own faith. In 1534, King Henry VIII became the Supreme head of the Church of England splitting off from the Roman Catholic Church. This resulted from the King desiring a divorce from Catherine of Aragon to marry Ann Boleyn hoping she would bear him a son for an heir. The Pope refused his divorce so he left the church and formed his own.
The Reformation began hindering the liberty to worship as many chose to do, so they left seeking refuge in other lands.
King Henry VIII left his legacy not only as a King of 6 wives of whom most he beheaded, but ripping the church apart. As a result, the Monarch forced allegiance upon its people.
America today was formed out of the freedom to worship from those who the King had persecuted for not supporting the Church of England.
Centuries later we are in crisis mode over the very reason the Pilgrims left England; religious liberty.
Which brings me to my next post; what is the separation of church and state?