— The Holy Bible
In contemporary days when the courts have pulled the Bible from classrooms, when the Sabbath is ignored as a day of worship, and when godless men thank God for nothing, never mentioning His name except in profanity, America needs to return to the humble, thankful attitude of its Founding Fathers.
Our country reflects well the verbal picture given by the Apostle Paul: “... when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened” (Romans 1:21).
Though some current historians try hard to discredit the common belief that our nation’s founding fathers were devout, they have not succeeded.
Reputable reference works state that in 1623, a day of fasting and prayer for rain in the midst of a drought was changed into thanksgiving by the coming of rain during the prayers.
These thankful forefathers were the lineal progenitors of some of us and were the spiritual ancestors of every loyal American. At least six of the presidents, John Quincy Adams, Zachary Taylor, and Franklin D. Roosevelt among them, were of Mayflower descent.
Nine hectic weeks dragged by while the Pilgrims were en route to the New World in the Mayflower. When, on that momentous December day in 1620, these 102 Pilgrims reached Provincetown Bay, they gave thanks to the Almighty.
Governor Bradford wrote: “They fell on their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from all the pains and miseries thereof.” Upon gathering their first harvest the following fall, these colonists observed a day of thanksgiving and prayer.
Historians state that in studying the genealogies and records preserved in old family Bibles of early New Englanders, one soon becomes keenly aware of these early colonists’ extensive, detailed knowledge of the Bible. This is also reflected in their predilection for the near-unpronounceable names which they chose from the Old Testament for their children.
Began by the Pilgrims, the custom of setting aside one day a year to especially thank God for His multitudinous blessings led to our nation’s declaring an official Thanksgiving Day. Though such a day was observed by numerous states years earlier, the observance became nationwide in 1864 when President Lincoln issued his Thanksgiving Day proclamation.
Since then the presidents have issued such an annunciation annually, designating a Thursday in November for its observance.
Thankfulness to God is a precious attribute for a nation to possess. America’s history reflects such a quality. A nobler manifesto is never issued from the White House than the President’s annual Thanksgiving Day proclamation.
Without exception these pronouncements cry out, “Thanks be to God!” Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States ... those at sea ... those sojourneying in foreign lands to observe ... a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens ... .”
Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed: “To set aside in the autumn of each year a day on which to give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings of life is a wise and reverent custom.”
Johnson Oatman sets the tenor for thankfulness when he wrote: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”