Nazarene Space

Thanksgiving: Americanization of Sukkot By Rabbi Rob Miller

To the Netzarim Diaspora,

Happy Thanksgiving!  Dr,. James Trimm answered the call writing his blog against the
detractors by writing, "Is Thanksgiving a Pagan Holiday?" The answer he came to
in the blog was "No!" Thanksgiving is really the Americanization of Sukkot.

Have a wonderful day of thanks to Yahweh.


Rabbi Rob Miller


"Thus saith YAHWEH,Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way,
and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).

"Always give thanks to Yahweh the Father for everything for this is Yahweh's will for you in Messiah YahShua." (I Thessalonians

As I sit at the computer this Thanksgiving morning and smell the food Sis. Marlene is cooking; I am overwhelmed at a sense of thanksgiving.
Yahweh has been so very good to me.
I am in need of nothing. He
continues to show me great mysteries from His Word and I feel His presence

But as I sit free to express my personal relationship with Yahweh I am indebted today to the pioneers of the Messianic Movement in

America , men who wanted only to share
the full message with their neighbors sometimes in peril of their

And this full message of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will
come. (Matthew 24:14)

All who are familiar with American history remember that in 1620 the Puritans landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts , coming to the New World primarily to escape
religious persecution which prevailed in
Europe . They sailed from Plymouth,
England and aboard were 44 Pilgrims that the crew began to call Pilgrims because
they had wandered to find a home first to Holland and then to the New
World. The
Puritans were
divided into two groups: 44 Separatists who called themselves the "Saints",
and 66 others, who called themselves the "Strangers". The long trip was cold and
damp and took 65 days. There was always the danger of fire on the wooden
ship, so food had to be eaten cold. Many passengers became sick and one
person died and one person was murdered by the time land was sighted on November
10th. The long trip led to many disagreements between the "Saints", the
"Strangers" and the crew.

“Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Messiah, being aliens
from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise,
having no hope and without Yahweh in the world. But now in Messiah YahShua you
who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Messiah. (Ephesians

The Puritans were a group of people who grew discontented in the Church of England and decided that the Church was beyond reform.

“We would have healed Babylon, but she cannot be healed; let us leave her and each go to his own land, for her judgment reaches to the skies, it rises as high as the clouds.' Yahweh has vindicated us; come, let us
tell in Zion
what Yahweh our Elohim has done.' (Jeremiah 51:9, 10)”

Here’s what the Separatists believed concerning Holy Days, “From the beginning of the Reformation to this present year of our Lord 1618, the Kirk (Church) of Scotland has diverse ways condemned
the observation of all holy days (Lev. 23), the Lord's Day (7th day
Sabbath) only excepted. In the first chapter of the First Book of Discipline
penned anno 1560, the observation of holy days to Saints, the feast of
Christmass, Circumcision, Epiphany, Purification, and other fond feasts of our
Lady are ranked amongst the abominations of the Roman religion, as having
neither commandment nor assurance in the word. It is further affirmed that the
obstinate maintainers and teachers of such abomination should not escape the
punishment of the civil magistrate. The book aforesaid was subscribed by the
Lord's of secret Council.” (David Calderwood's (1575-1651)

This document was printed and circulated by William Brewster in 1619. William Brewster had mortgaged his house in
Holland to purchase a
printing press.
This document, as Brewster must
have known was viewed by the King of England as the crime of high treason
punishable by death. The King of
England pressured Holland , a land long known for
religious tolerance, to confiscate the press and deport Brewster to

England to stand trial. Dutch authorities got the printing press
but Brewster stowed away on the Mayflower for the famous voyage of 1620.

The Puritans believed that the Holy Scriptures was Yahweh's true law, and that it provided a plan for living. The Church described access to Yahweh as monastic and possible only within the
confines of "church authority". Puritans stripped away the traditional trappings
and formalities of Christianity which had been slowly building throughout the
previous 1500 years. Theirs was an attempt to "purify" the Assembly and their
own lives. The laws for the new colony were an outgrowth of their religion, very
much based on the theocracy of the Hebrews.

The Puritans had zealously endeavored to purify the Church of England, with the result that those who felt they could no longer remain with the established church went afterwards by such names as
Non-Conformists and Separatists.
They were not a small group of people. In
many Puritans sat in Parliament.

"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says Yahweh. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. (2 Corinthians 6:17 see Isaiah 52:11; Ezek. 20:34, 41)"

There was also widespread excitement about Scriptural prophecy, and many anticipated the imminent return of the Messiah. One group, called the Fifth Monarchists (after Nebuchadnezzar's dream
of Daniel 2, in which Yahweh's Kingdom is portrayed as the fifth and greatest of
a prophesied series of empires), stressed the literal millennial reign of
Messiah on earth. The most radical Fifth Monarchists hoped to pave the way
for that reign by overthrowing the King.
So great was the struggle that

England 's Civil War pitted the
Puritans against the Crown Forces. Though the Puritans won the fight with Oliver
Cromwell's ceasing control of the Government, making England a republic and
leading the Commonwealth of England and executing the King, their victory was
short-lived with Cromwell struck by a sudden bout of malarial fever, the
Puritans were hunted down and the Crown restored; hence their displacement to
America. In 1661, Oliver Cromwell's body was exhumed from Westminster Abbey, and
was subjected to the ritual of a posthumous execution. Finally, his disinterred
body was thrown into a pit, while his severed head was displayed on a pole
outside Westminster Abbey until 1685. Afterwards the head changed hands several
times, before eventually being buried in the grounds of
Sidney Sussex
College ,
Cambridge , in 1960.

Puritans held the Ten Commandments in very high regard. Applying that the Sabbath commandment to be observed strictly as a day of rest, rather than merely being a day on which to hold worship
services. Given the Puritan respect for the Torah and the Protestant belief that
the Holy Scriptures should be the ultimate source of belief and practice, it was
inevitable that some would respond to the Sabbath controversy by adopting the scriptural seventh day Sabbath. And
indeed, that is what happened.

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Yahweh your Elohim. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or
daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien
within your gates. For in six days Yahweh made the heavens and the earth, the
sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore Yahweh
blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus

“It is the privilege of God's power to appoint a day of rest, and to sanctify it to his honor…In the book of Ecclesiasticus (cap. 33: 7, 8) it is demanded, Why doth one day excel another, when as the
light of every day of the year is of the Sun? It is answered, By the Knowledge
of the Lord they were distinguished, and he altered seasons and feasts. Some of
them hath he made high days, and hallowed them; Some of them he hath made
ordinary days.
The Papists
will confess that one day is not holier than another in its own nature, no not
the Lord's Day: for then the Sabbath might not have been changed from the last
to the first day of the week .” (David Calderwood's

During the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, groups of Sabbatarians sprang up in various parts of England and
Wales ;
more than sixty congregations that either met on Saturday or included
Sabbatarians, they have been identified by historian Bryan W. Ball. Many of
these groups lasted only a generation or two, but some survived much longer---one
of them for over three hundred years.
Moreover, the majority of the
Sabbatarian Believers in the world today can trace their spiritual lineage,
directly or indirectly, to these brave and determined people.

The decision to observe the seventh day Sabbath was not one to take lightly. Those who made this choice placed themselves conspicuously outside of the mainstream of society. In the
seventeenth century, people who adopted practices different from those of the
Church of England were placed under close scrutiny and could be subjected to
fines or imprisonment.
For example, in the 1660s and 1670s, local
churchwardens kept careful records of all “Nonconformists”, including anyone who
worked or didn't attend church on Sunday, refused to have infants baptized, or
kept the seventh day Sabbath. (These records have provided historians with
valuable clues about the identities and locations of Sabbath keepers.) Sabbath
keepers were often labeled as “Jews,” and this label was not intended as a
compliment. In
England , the anti-Semitism of the
time was exacerbated by ignorance. All
Jews in
England had been expelled from the
country in 1290 CE.

One well-known example of the persecutions faced by early English Sabbatarians is the story of John and Dorothy Traske. John Traske (1585-1636) was a controversial and apparently
rather colorful traveling preacher whose words and actions repeatedly got him
into trouble with the authorities. What exactly he taught is difficult to
determine, because the available sources on his life are largely hostile ones.
It is also not certain how many followers he attracted; only the names of a few
have come down to us, including Hamlet Jackson, Returne Hebdon, and Christopher
Sands. We do know that in 1617, Traske was in
London teaching that one should obey the fourth
commandment by resting on the seventh day and working on each of the other six
days. He also taught obedience to Scriptural dietary laws and is said to have
advocated Christian observance of the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Traske's preaching was too radical to go unnoticed for long. By late 1617, Traske and several associates had been arrested, and on June 19, 1618, he was charged with ``having a fantastical
opynion of himselfe with ambicion to bee the Father of a Jewish faccion'' and
making ``the people of God, his majesty's subjects, little better than Jews.''
Traske was whipped and pilloried, and his forehead was branded with a letter “I”
(for ``Iew'', as “Jew” was written at that time). He was also sentenced to life
in prison, where he subsisted on a meatless diet (rather than eat the pork
prescribed by the court) until he recanted his “Jewish” views and was released
in 1619. He published an account of his changed beliefs in "A Treatise of Libertie from Judaisme"
(1620) and apparently never taught seventh-day Sabbath keeping after that.
However, two of his associates refused to recant and eventually died in
prison---Returne Hebdon in 1625, and Traske’s wife Dorothy in 1645. The example
of Dorothy Traske, who remained steadfast over many years in prison, was a great
inspiration to other seventeenth-century Sabbatarians.

John Traske was by all accounts very eccentric, and he was threatened with arrest and imprisonment both before and after he advocated observance of the Sabbath. However, one didn't have to be as
provocative as Traske to face persecution; a thoroughly orthodox Christian who wrote or
spoke in favor of the Sabbath was also in danger in the early seventeenth
Such was the case with Theophilus Brabourne (1590-1662), an
Anglican clergyman who hoped to persuade the Church of England to adopt the
seventh day Sabbath in two books that he wrote in 1628 and 1632. In 1634 and
early 1635, Brabourne was imprisoned, repeatedly examined by church officials,
and threatened with excommunication and a fine of 1000 pounds before his
carefully-worded recantation was accepted on April 30, 1635. (Brabourne claimed
that he never recanted anything of any substance, and in the more tolerant
climate of the 1650s he wrote again in favor of the Sabbath.)

Were any Sabbatarians on the Mayflower which brought the Puritans to America ? "Strange as it may seem in
the early history of
America there was an attempt at
suppression of the Christmas spirit. The stern Puritans at
Plymouth , imbued with the
rigorous fervor of what they called the Old Testament, abhorred the celebration
of the worldly holidays. “I say there is no power either civil or ecclesiastical
can make a holy day: no King, no Kirk (Church): only the Lord that made the day,
and distinguished it from the night: he hath sanctified the seventh day. If the
special sanctification of a day to an holy use depends upon God's commandment
and institution, then neither King nor kirk representative may make a holy
day.”In the Assembly held in
April anno 1577, it was ordained that the Visitor with the advice of the Synodal
Assembly, shall admonish ministers preaching or ministering the communion at
Pasche (Passover – they favored the Seder over communion), Yule (Christmass), or other like superstitious
or Readers reading, to desist, under the pain of deprivation. … It was a part of the idolatry of the
golden calf to proclaim a holy day. It is numbered among one of Jeroboams
sins that he ordained a feast after the devise of his own heart (1 Kings
12:33). Musculus (Loci Communes
Praec. 4.) says, If any man shall attempt to make holy at his pleasure the
things that God has not sanctified
, is not only superstitious, but
challenges unto himself that which belongs only to God. When God blesses and
sanctifies a day, then may man look for a blessing in sanctifying it. … Nay let us utter the truth,
December-Christmas is a just imitation of the December Saturnal of the ethnic
Romans, and so used as if Bacchus, and not Christ were the God of
Christians…Of the ancient kirks (Churches) I have
spoken before. Some excuse the ancients with good intention, because to win the
Gentiles they converted their days into Christian holy days. Others excused them
with the circumstance of time, that dwelling among pagans, they made profession
before their eyes of Christ's birth, passion, resurrection, etc., by observing
such days. But the wisdom of their intention has proven folly, as the seventh
reason makes manifest. The like circumstance of time is not offered: therefore
we may not be excused. It is gross ignorance to say that holy days were so many
hundred years before Papistry. For Papistry has been in the kirk ever since the
days of Apostles; yea the mystery of iniquity was working in their times. The
errors of the Orthodox Kirk were the beginnings of Papistry, at length they grew
to a great mass. …
” (David Calderwood's

Perth Assembly)
Their worship was on the Sabbath
(Saturday), rather than Sunday, and Christmas in particular they considered a
pagan celebration. Later immigrants attempted to observe Christmas as a time of
joy, but were suppressed. Governor Bradford, Elder Brewster, Miles Standish and
other leaders were firm against the yuletide spirit as we know it today (Hugh
Sprague, editor of the St. Joseph Gazette
(Missouri), December, 1934)."
Instead they kept only the Scriptural Holy Days.

In a private conversation between Elder A. N. Dugger (who became a pioneer in the Sacred Name Movement) and Editor Hugh Sprague, after this editorial appeared, the latter stated that he was a member
of the “Mayflower Association” meaning the Puritan Colony were his direct
ancestors, and that he very well knew their religious beliefs and practices. And
in addition, he stated that all his grandparents and great-grandparents knew
that the Puritans of the Mayflower days were strict Sabbath keepers on the
seventh day of the week instead of Sunday.

When the Puritans crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1620, they landed, December 11, on the
rocky shores of a territory that was inhabited by the Wampanoag (Wam pa NO ag)
Indians. The small band of
Puritans passed the harsh winter
filled with sickness and hardships. Forty-seven of the 103 Mayflower
passengers died.

We can only guess what the Wampanoags must have thought when they first saw the strange ships of the Puritans arriving on their shores. But their custom was to help visitors, and they treated the
newcomers with courtesy. It was mainly because of their kindness that the
Puritans survived at all. The wheat the Puritans had brought with them to plant
would not grow in the rocky soil. They needed to learn new ways for a
New World , and the man who came to help them was called
"Tisquantum" (Tis SKWAN tum) or "Squanto" (SKWAN toe).

Squanto was originally from the village of Patuxet (Pa TUK et) and a
member of the Pokanokit Wampanoag nation. Patuxet once stood on the exact site
where the Pilgrims built
Plymouth . In 1605, fifteen years before the
Puritans came, Squanto went to
England with a friendly English
explorer named John Weymouth. He had many adventures and learned to speak
English. Squanto came back to New England with
Captain Weymouth. Later Squanto was captured by a British slaver who raided the
village and sold Squanto to the Spanish in the
Islands . A Spanish Franciscan priest
befriended Squanto and helped him to get to
Spain and later on a ship to

England . Squanto then found Captain
Weymouth, who paid his way back to his homeland. In England Squanto met Samoset
of the Wabanake (Wab NAH key) Tribe, who had also left his native home with an
English explorer. They both returned together to Patuxet in 1620. When they
arrived, the village was deserted and there were skeletons everywhere. Everyone
in the village had died from an illness the English slavers had left behind.
Squanto and Samoset went to stay with a neighboring
village of
Wampanoags .

One year later, in the spring, Squanto and Samoset were hunting along the beach near Patuxet. They were startled to see people from
England in their deserted village.
For several days, they stayed nearby observing the newcomers. Finally they
decided to approach them. Samoset walked into the village and said "welcome,"
Squanto soon joined him. The Puritans were very surprised to meet two Indians
who spoke English.

The Puritans were not in good condition. They were living in dirt-covered shelters, there was a shortage of food, and nearly half of them had died during the winter. They obviously needed help and
the two men were a welcome sight. Squanto, who probably knew more English than
any other Indian in North America at that time,
decided to stay with the Puritans for the next few months and teach them how to
survive in this new place.

By the time fall arrived things were going much better for the Puritans, thanks to the help they had received. The corn they planted had grown well. There was enough food to last the winter. They
were living comfortably in their Native American-style wigwams and had also
managed to build one European-style building out of squared logs. This was their
Sanctuary. They were now in better health, and they knew more about surviving in
this new land. The Puritans decided to have a thanksgiving feast to celebrate
their good fortune. They had observed thanksgiving feasts in the fall High Holy
Days as religious obligations in
England for many years before coming to the
New World . That first Thanksgiving was actually
a Feast of Tabernacles celebration.

Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Puritan Settlement, invited Squanto, Samoset, Massasoit (the leader of the Wampanoags), and their immediate families to join them for a celebration, but
they had no idea how big Native American families could be. As the Thanksgiving
feast began, the Puritans were overwhelmed at the large turnout of ninety
relatives that Squanto and Samoset brought with them. The Puritans were not
prepared to feed a gathering of people that large for three days. Seeing this,
Massasoit gave orders to his men within the first hour of his arrival to go home
and get more food. Thus it happened that the Indians supplied the majority of
the food: Five deer, many wild turkeys, fish, beans, squash, corn soup, corn
bread, and berries. Captain Standish sat at one end of a long table and the Clan
Chief Massasoit sat at the other end. For the first time the Wampanoag people
were sitting at a table to eat instead of on mats or furs spread on the ground.
The Indian women sat together with the Indian men to eat. The Puritan women,
however, stood quietly behind the table and waited until after their men had
eaten, since that was their custom.

For three days the Wampanoags feasted with the Puritans. It was a special time of friendship between two very different groups of people. A peace and friendship agreement was made between
Massasoit and Miles Standish giving the Puritans the clearing in the forest
where the old Patuxet village once stood to build their new town of
Plymouth .

What does appear evident is that among the Puritans, first in England , and then in

America , were conscientious
Sabbatarians. The earliest Sabbath keeping congregations in
America were not formally incorporated or
organized into conferences, but merely local congregations going by various
designations or names, such as: Sabbatarians,
Church of
God ,
Church of
Christ , Seventh Day Baptists, and even
Independents. The Seventh Day Baptists were among the earliest to effect a
General Conference organization (1802).

Arthur Elwell Main, D.D., in Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America, Volume 1, says as early as 1646 Sabbath-keeping was the occasion of much earnest discussion in New England, this dates the Sabbath debate twenty-six
years after the Puritans arrived in 1620, and about eighteen years prior to the
London Seventh Day Baptists' sending of Stephen Mumford to America. Since Sunday
observers would not have advocated seventh-day Sabbath observance, it appears
evident that it came about by the Pilgrim descendants. The situations of those
times may also be ascertained from Felt's Ecclesiastical History of New England,
Volume 1, p. 593.

As far as documented written historical records go, it appears that the first local organization of Sabbath keeping Christians in America was
that of the congregation at
Newport , Rhode
Island , in 1671. Mumford attended the first-day
Church , and for several
years taught the Sabbath truth among them. As a result, a number of them
embraced the Sabbath in 1665 and in 1666, but the intention was not to sever
their connection with the
Church . They soon learned, however, that
even in the church
of Roger Williams , where
liberty of conscience was supposed to prevail, it was not possible to have close
communion on such drastic differences in beliefs as the Sabbath and Sunday
brought about. Accordingly, the seventh-day observers left the
Church on December 7, 1671, and sixteen
days later, on the 23rd of December, they covenanted together in a
congregational organization.

As the Puritans immigrated and formed individual colonies, their numbers rose from 17,800 in 1640 to 106,000 in 1700.

Journals of the Puritans that settled New Salem, Massachusetts, record that they were so moved by the stories of the
ancient Israelites that they saw themselves fulfilling a similar role seeing
America as their
Zion and New Salem as their
Jerusalem . They wanted to build a Torah based

Other Sabbath keeping centers established shortly after the Newport group was formed were the group near Philadelphia ,
Pennsylvania , through the labors of Able Noble,
who came from England about
1684; and the group at
Piscataway , New
Jersey . From these centers streams of Sabbatarian
emigration flowed westward and southward until there were not less than twenty
congregations and settlements of Sabbath keepers in nine of the ten colonies or
states when the General Conference of Seventh Day Baptists was organized in
1802. Their headquarters is at
Plainfield , New
Jersey .

There also is in the state of Pennsylvania a small body of German Seventh Day Baptists, who have a very interesting Sabbath keeping
heritage. It dates approximately from 1728 when Conrad Beissel, a native of

Germany , became the real leader of an
independent Sabbath keeping group established in the Ephrata community. In those years it was largely a monastic
movement, comprised of the "Brotherhood of Zion" and the "Spiritual Order of the
Roses of Saron," one of the most celebrated establishments of its kind in the
country. Because of their unusual manner of life, and because it was feared that
through their influence the whole state of
Pennsylvania would be affected with their
Sabbatarian teachings, they were at times persecuted. They also established and
successfully maintained a Sabbath school at Ephrata, its headquarters, forty
years before Robert Raikes of
England introduced the system of
Sunday schools.

Because of the circumstances of the times, the German Seventh Day Baptists had some associations with William Penn, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington.
Franklin did some of Beissel's printing. Peter
Miller, a member of the colony, was a close friend of the Penn family. He was
also personally acquainted with George Washington. When the Continental Congress
sought a trustworthy and loyal man to conduct its diplomatic correspondence with
the governments of Europe , it was this Sabbath
keeper of the Ephrata Community who translated the Declaration of Independence
into seven different languages.

THE FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION - JUNE 20, 1676: "The Holy [Yahweh] having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land,
written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in
this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his
judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day
of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations
of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from
Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of
late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without
such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be
the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive
Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and
fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning
mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with
Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing
Afflictions: The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day
of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to [Yahweh] for
such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be
Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of [Yahweh’s] Afflictions,
have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold
us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth
commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction;
Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the
mercies of [Yahweh] we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and
soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto [Yahweh] by [Messiah YahShua]."
------------------------------------ The First Thanksgiving Proclamation (June
20, 1676) On June 20, 1676, the governing council of
Charlestown ,
Massachusetts , held a meeting to determine how
best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community
securely established. By unanimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the
clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving, our first. That
proclamation is reproduced here in the same language and spelling as the
original. [Sacred Names

During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress set several Thanksgiving Days for the people to rejoice in their homes and churches for victories won. In 1778, George Washington proclaimed a day on
which to give thanks for the treaties just concluded with
France . Three
years after the War of 1812, President Madison proclaimed a special thanksgiving
for peace. Later, there were scattered observances at varying dates in
some states, mostly in the North. In 1817,
New York
State had adopted Thanksgiving Day in the
Autumn as an annual custom.

By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated Thanksgiving Day. Gradually, the feeling grew all over the land that we should have a uniform national Thanksgiving Day. Sarah Josepha Hale,
the editor of the popular magazine, Godey's Lady's Book, was the chief sponsor
of this idea for forty years. After the victory at
Gettysburg , there was
great rejoicing that the Civil War would soon be over. President
Lincoln issued a proclamation and named the last Thursday in November as the
date for our national Thanksgiving Day after the tally of the Gross National
Product was in.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the
ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they
do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience,
commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners
or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged,
and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds
of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine
purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. It is
the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the
overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble
sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and
pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and
proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the

Thanksgiving Day is the only American holiday birthed by the need of our country to give thanks to the Heavenly Father for our abundance.

“Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good; His love endures forever. Let the Redeemed of Yahweh say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and
south. Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they
could settle. They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then
they cried out to Yahweh in their trouble, and he delivered them from their
distress…Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty
waters. They saw the works of Yahweh, His wonderful deeds in the deep. For He
spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves…They were glad when it
grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to
Yahweh for His unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. Let them exalt
him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.
(Psalms 104: 1-6 ;23-25;30-32)”

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