Thanksgiving can be traced back to Israel's beginnings. There are numerous Thanksgiving passages in the Old Testament alone. Hebrews thanked God by way of fasting and worship, praising Him together and then being faithful daily to His commandments.
Early American leader Joseph Bradford was an earnest student of the Old Testament. He, representative of the Pilgrims, took the Bible most seriously. They were attentive to giving thanks to the Lord who oversaw their safety in the new country. They had come to the new Promised Land. In that, these early settlers were carrying on the spiritual sensitivities of the Old Testament Hebrews.
Joseph Bradford: "Blessed be the God of Heaven who brought us over the furious ocean. . .What could sustain us but the Spirit of God and His grace." Bradford quoted Moses: "Our fathers cried unto Him and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity." (Deuteronomy 26:7).
Our forerunners in faith set aside a special day for giving particular thanks to the Almighty. They, like the Old Testament believers, assembled particularly in worship. "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness endures forever" (Psalm 106 and 107) was a favorite passage.
George Washington proclaimed the first thanksgiving observance in November 26, 1798. He said it would be a day for those in the new country to thank the Lord for transporting them safely to their new homeland.
Abraham Lincoln, overseeing the war within his own country, reestablished the Thanksgiving Day observance.
In 1941, the US Congress established the fourth Thursday in November as the day of gratitude throughout the nation. It was a time to pause in giving praise to God for His kindness.
Once again, the nation is drawn close with renewed hope because of the reelection of George W. Bush. There were those legitimately fearful of a Kerry regime. Kerry himself was a renegade Catholic who thought nothing of desecrating the Blessed Sacrament. He also wrote other tenets of his egocentric religion, flying in the face of the divine revelation and church teaching.
However, with the Bush victory, there is a sense of real-life optimism throughout the country. The overwhelming ballot box count proved that beyond doubt.
Therefore, this Thanksgiving there is a sense of peace, a relief, a longing to lunge into the future for building a traditional America. We now have a President and Congress working for lifting the liberal, secular curse in order to implant once again what this country traditionally has believed - UNDER GOD being the baseline.
J. Grant Swank Jr.