Christian Faith Behind America’s Thanksgiving

November 28, 2021

Christian Faith Behind America’s Thanksgiving
Psalm 100:1-5

Pastor Terry Wilcox

Sam Adams, a member of the Continental Congress, drafted the First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving to be celebrated December 18, 1777.

Some prior history illustrates the basis for it was faith in the God of the Bible:

  1. Their answer to their greatest problem of was prayer and fasting. 
    · Rev. Jacob Duche’s sermon from the 35th Psalm.

    Second Continental Congress, May 10, 1775, 45 delegates from 11 colonies, agreed to begin with prayer.

    “…the scenes before us are so vast…I tremble when I think of their …importance. May the God of wisdom preside…”   -Silas Deane

    On June 7 the Continental Congress called for July 20 to be observed throughout the colonies as a day of “humiliation, fasting, and prayer.”

    John Adams wrote the resolution referring to “God the Provider” three times in the first paragraph.

  2. We have enjoyed the results of their prayers. Never before July 20, 1775, had the 12 American colonies had a special day like this: From sunrise to sunset; from New Hampshire to Georgia.

    The day after, the Continental Congress was notified that Georgia would be the 13th colony.

  3. Prayer was important to America’s founding fathers. Local and national days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving were regularly called in all 13 colonies.

    In October 1777 the British Gen. Burgoyne surrendered 5,728 officers and soldiers to American Gen. Gates at Saratoga, New York.

    Continental Congress tasked Samuel Adams to write the First National Thanksgiving Proclamation.

    Thanksgiving may have died as a quaint New England custom, but Sam Adams’ determination nationalized this beautiful tradition.

  4. Thanksgiving shaped the soul of this nation by shaping the souls of individuals.

    December 17, 1777, George Washington and his 11,000 troops were six miles from Valley Forge suffering horrific physical and emotional conditions. In Washington’s order:

    Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgments to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the General directs that the army remain in its present quarters, and that the Chaplains perform divine service with their several Corps and Brigades. And earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.

  5. Thanking God in difficult times is a great exercise of faith, and faith grows when we exercise it.

    This is Thanksgiving Day. God knows we have very little to keep it with, this being the third day we have been without flour or bread, and are living on a high, uncultivated hill, in huts and tents, lying on the cold ground. Upon the whole I think that we all have to be thankful for is that we are alive, and not in the grave with many of our friends.
    -Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn’s entry in his journal on Thursday, the 18th day of December.

    Hundreds of my companions…might be tracked by their blood on the rough, frozen ground…but hunger, nakedness and sore shins were not the only difficulties…we had hard duty to perform and little or no strength to perform it with. Mankind is never truly thankful for the benefits of life, until they have experienced the want of them.
    -Philosophized by Surgeon Albigence Waldo.

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