The true meaning of Thanksgiving: A Christian holiday to thank God

  1. Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved holidays in America.

But in the hands of “progressives,” public schools and the Hate America Media (HAM), Thanksgiving has long become yet another occasion for white guilt. If you want an illustration, see my 2010 post, “Thanksgiving card from my liberal friend“.

But did you know that unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day or the Fourth of July, the Thanksgiving that you think is a secular holiday is actually a national holiday that is explicitly religious in nature?

As shown in the quotes below, Thanksgiving was instituted as a day to thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed on America.

George Washington prays at Valley Forge, winter of 1777-1778 (painting by Arnold Friberg)

In 1789, in his first year in office, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because —

“it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

In 1815, President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness.” After Madison, however, Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in New England for 48 years.

In a proclamation in the midst of the Civil War on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official national holiday. Here is the full text of his proclamation:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. 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, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

Fellowship of the Minds (FOTM) takes this occasion to thank our readers for their loyalty to this little-blog-that-can that persists in spite of all the malicious efforts to silence us: the August 15, 2018 take-down by WordPress, and the many distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) bot and spam attacks since.

As the owner of FOTM, I also want to take this occasion to thank our writers, who give so selflessly of their labor, time and talent, without a single penny in remuneration. I also owe a special “thank you” to Andy, the IT wiz who resolved and prevents the DDOS attacks by shielding FOTM with an impervious security wall.

But most of all, I thank the magnificent and magnanimous Triune Godhead for the many blessings He’s given America, in spite of our failings, perversities, and rising evil. 2020 has been a trying year, likely the most horrible year for many of us. Despite COVID-19 and the attendant restrictions on our freedom, a travail made many times worse by the seeming election of Joe Biden to the presidency, we must take heart as there are still so many good things in America. Keep the faith!

Psalm 100

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all you lands;
serve the Lord, with gladness;
come before Him with joyful song.
Know that the Lord, is God,
He made us, we belong to Him,
we are His people, the flock He shepherds.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name;
good indeed is the Lord,
His mercy endures forever,
His faithfulness lasts through every generation.

On this Thanksgiving Day, what do you thank the Creator for?

See also “7 health benefits of being grateful“.

God bless you, and may God bless America,


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1 year ago

Lincoln was such a gifted wordsmith, reading his words is much like listening to beautiful music. But I must say, Dr. E, there are times when you are a close second, if not his peer. My sincere wishes snd prayers for a blessed Thanksgiving

1 year ago

Thank you for this beautiful article, Dr. Eowyn.

Auntie Lulu
Auntie Lulu
1 year ago
Reply to  TrailDust

Amen to that!

1 year ago

Dear Eowyn. Thank you for reminding us of the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Much of our sacred holiday has been usurped by a degenerate society that would rather concern itself with the size of the thanksgiving turkey than the infinitely loving heart of holy God. You remind us that every dawn we greet is God’s gift of another day; every challenge we are given is God’s loving refining our souls; every breath we take, every beat of our hearts, is God’s gift of sustaining our mortal flesh. And this little blog is truly God’s blessing, for it is the small… Read more »

1 year ago

Thank you, Dr. E & all FOTM contributors!! This was a great essay. Wonderful points of Truth.

And I praise God for all the blessings He has seen fit to send my way, as well as the challenges that make me strive to learn to be better. I ask only for the gift of healing for a young friend of my son’s who has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome but has not let it take away her faith. Her joyful, grace-filled spirit in spite of constant chronic pain is a wonderful and constant inspiration.

Love to all on this day… <3

Tony Lamb
1 year ago

I know that ‘ALMOST’ NO ONE will see this and even fewer will even go to my website. (But here goes anyway). I have been given a multitude of dreams and visions about the End of Days. I have seen some terrible things but I have seen some beautiful and amazing things such as my Raoture dream. And in that dream Jesus held me in his arms and I looked into the eyes of God. I have written books that are on Amazon, been on the radio, built a website, facebook, youtube videos and much more. I do not know… Read more »

1 year ago

Beautifully written, Dr. Eowyn. I’m a soldier who spends much of my time overseas in combat zones. A number of months ago I commented here to say that whenever possible I keep up with FotM as best I can, and to bless you all for being such good and Godly patriots. When I say my prayers before sleep, I ask God to keep a special watch over you, and when I do my work I do it with my heart and mind directed towards keeping the world a little bit safer for you. Maybe some of you even remember my… Read more »

1 year ago

I thank God for FOTM in these dark times. FOTM is a shelter By coincidence my Bible lesson this morning, perfect for Thanksgiving, began with Romans 5:1-2, how by our faith in Jesus we gain God’s grace and therefore are pardoned (justified, just as if we had never sinned) This is peace with God Then my teacher Les Feldick cited what he calls the most important verses to read in times of sadness and need: Philippians 4:6-7 The Apostle Paul wrote not to worry (be careful for nothing) but make every prayer and request with Thanksgiving: “6 Be careful for… Read more »

1 year ago

Destroy Christianity …. to destroy all RIGHTS
Human dignity and RIGHTS are unique to Christianity
the source of GOD given RIGHTS ….
Human RIGHTS are not a concept of judaism or islam,
all they know is obedience to their TRIBAL gods & worshipping self written laws.
… the Left insists there is NO GOD so they can deny your GOD given RIGHTS.

Jackie Puppet
1 year ago

I never really stopped to consider why Thanksgiving was made into a national holiday & the reasoning behind it before – thank you Dr. Eowyn.

Most of all, thanks be to God, and may blessings be bestowed upon us, our families & loved ones, and all who come across this blog.