“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4).
The fourth Thursday of November has been set aside as a “National Day of Thanksgiving” toward our God and Creator. So enacted by Congressional decree in the month of November 1863 proposed by President Abraham Lincoln. There were other “special” days of Thanksgiving recognized by our first President, George Washington in 1789, as well as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. But it was Abraham Lincoln, after his conversion to Christ in 1863, who declared it a National Day of Thanksgiving, and with congressional approval, it has been in effect ever since.
It was in November of 1620 that the ship “Mayflower” left a harbor in Plymouth, England, and set sail with a total of 132 people aboard. Their destination was some 2,760 miles away in a new world called America. It was 66 days later when they landed in America, in a place now called, Provincetown Harbor, off the top of Cape Cod. One passenger died three days before the end of the journey. One crewman also died, a vile fellow who constantly harassed and cursed the passengers. He often told the pilgrims that he hoped to cast them overboard after they died during the voyage. Before they were one half of the way though their voyage, he died and was buried at sea. His fellows noted it to be the hand of God.
The “Mayflower Compact” was the first actual document adopted by the people of this new land. The pilgrim leaders, led by William Bradford, drew up the compact in the cabin of the Mayflower and signed it Nov. 11, 1620. The opening lines are so powerful as these pilgrims sought to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, it reads thusly: "In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith...do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the ends aforesaid..." (God's glory and advancement of the Christian Faith").
Scriptural thanksgiving truly means "giving thanks to God for His providential care,” not just one day, but every day. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name" (Psalm 100:4).Pastor H. Preston Parker