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Ask the Pastor 85

What is the purpose of Thanksgiving?

This is a question which may seem to have an obvious answer, that we as a nation, would pause for one day in the year to give thanks to our God for the bounty of the harvest and all that we have. Now as our nation moves further and further away from God, giving thanks to Him has become a moot point. In a previous article we noted how there are some who state that the first thanksgiving was in celebration of a massacre of Native Americans. As noted in that article, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the surviving pilgrims in the Fall of 1621 as a celebration of thanksgiving to the Lord God for their harvest, as recorded in the journal of William Bradford and a publication by Edward Winslow, two actual eyewitnesses of the event. They recorded that this feast was held with 53 of the 102 original colonists who had survived that first winter, along with their guests, 90 of the Wampanoag Indians including their chief Massasoit. George Washington proclaimed a day of thanks in 1789 and was followed by presidents John Adams and James Madison. The official declaration of a holiday was made by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 at the height of the civil war. The Bible expresses that giving of thanks should be ongoing and a consistent part of our lives such as, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4) and “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know to God:” (Philippians 4:6). As we seek to bring America back to the Lord God as it was in the beginning, it is most appropriate that we have a day to give thanks to the Lord for all of His many blessings and especially everlasting life through believing in His Son.

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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