According to History.com, the first Thanksgiving took place in Massachusetts during the Pilgrim Settlers second winter in America in December 1621. The first winter had killed 44 of the original 102 colonists. And because an unexpected trading vessel arrived, and swapped beaver pelts with them for corn, they were able to survive. Since next summers crops brought hope, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast on December 13, 1621, which is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Although this feast is considered to be the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. The Pilgrims gave thanks to God for helping them find acres of land that had no hostile Indians and for newfound religious freedom. They also celebrated with the friendly Indians who brought wild turkeys and venison with them. As well as prayers, sermons and songs of praise. They spent three days feasting and praying. Since that time, Thanksgiving is a celebration of thanks of gratitude to God for His grace and mercy upon us. And President Lincoln officially set aside the last Thursday of November in 1863, "as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father." In 1941, Congress ruled that after 1941, the fourth Thursday of November be observed as Thanksgiving Day and be a legal holiday.
But why should we give thanks in times like these today? It is true that in today's society, some of us may think we don't have much to be thankful for. From loss of jobs, homes, cars and possessions, what's left? From the fall of Wall Street, the never ending war and the bad economy, why should we still be thankful to God? 1 Thessalonians says, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." This means, no matter what we may go through, good or bad, God will always make a way for us. Even at our darkest time or hour, God will always turn a negative into a positive, if we only believe and trust in Him. Even in the book of Exodus, the Israelites sang a song of thanksgiving as they were delivered from Pharoah's army after they crossed the Red Sea. And the book of Psalms is full of songs of thanksgiving for God's grace to the Israelite people as well as for His individual graces to each of us.
In this life there will always be things to complain about. But God gave us a choice. Do we choose to be positive or negative? Is the glass half empty or full? No matter how grim our situations may be, there will always be something to be thankful for. Did we live to see another day? Do we have our health and strength? Are our families ok? Do we have clothes, food and shelter? If we only believe and trust in God, He will give us our needs and not necessarily our wants. For Romans 8:28-30 says, "For those who know Christ, God also works everything together for good, even events we would not necessarily consider good." May God grant that He may find us grateful everyday for all gifts- spiritual and material.
Wanda is a wife, mother, public speaker and contributing author of EzineArticles.com. She has been writing about God and spirituality for over 20 years and has researched the bible and its history. Wanda also specializes in Christian poetry and children books and believes and teaches that regardless of a person's background or their mistakes of the past, God has a place for them.
She is the publisher and bestselling author of "Kids Ask The Darndest Things About God And The Beginning- Answers From The First Five Books Of The Bible" available at http://www.amazon.com
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