“From the Pilgrims’ perspective, no occasion was ever purely secular. To rejoice was to rejoice in the Lord; to be thankful was to celebrate the kindness of God.”
“By 1691—the year Plymouth was absorbed into Massachusetts Bay—they had adopted a pattern of annual springtime fast days and autumn thanksgivings. While the custom of springtime fasts never caught on elsewhere, the celebration of regular autumn thanksgivings spread across New England during the eighteenth century, expanded to the Old Northwest after the War of 1812 and began to invade the Upper South by the 1840s. Thanksgiving was becoming a beloved American holiday.” Robert Tracy McKenzie, The First Thanksgiving
This did not establish a permanent, annual holiday. In keeping with the Puritan practice, this was called for as a one-time event in response to God’s providential hand at the moment.
Today many celebrate Thanksgiving merely as a family day or in the name of some vague, civic religion. The Thanksgiving Holiday was, however, unquestionably created as a day of special thanks to the Christian God for His ever present mercies.
It is certainly not a mandatory Christian holiday, but if you are a Christian who celebrates the day, be sure that you celebrate it in honor and gratitude to God. If you are a Christian who does not celebrate it, nevertheless be sure to pause regularly and give special thanks to God.
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