What is the history behind Thanksgiving?

In July of 1620, a group of people boarded the Mayflower in search of a place where they could have their own land and could worship G-d in freedom without being forced to follow guidelines of a state religion. By November of 1620, these pilgrims finally saw land (today known as Cape Code).  By the following year, 50% of the Mayflower’s passengers and crew had died.

Ray Mossholder concludes that this harvest festival was celebrated for 3 days in 1621. The Chicago Tribune, November 20, 1966, also concurs thatthanksgiving -- sukkot “The 1621 feast, which included 50 Europeans (all who remained of the 100 who had landed) and 90 native guests, lasted for three days. “The event occurred between Sept. 21 and Nov. 11, 1621,” writes James Baker, Plimoth vice president of research, “with the most likely time being around … Sept. 29 [which was erev Sukkot, 14 Tishrei 5382].” (It should be noted that scholars believe that the religious pilgrims, who were very familiar with the Old Testament and the Hebrew language, intended that their time of thanksgiving be a celebration of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles.)

Two years later, in 1623, the pilgrims celebrated their 2nd Thanksgiving following a long drought which had threatened their harvest.

Governor Bradford called for a religious fast. Annual or occasional days of fasting and thanksgiving became common practice in other New England settlements, as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year.

In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation; he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

In 1817, New York became the first state to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. Other states also officially adopted the celebration of Thanksgiving; each, however, observed it on a different day, while the southern states were unfamiliar with this tradition. In 1827, the well-known author, Sarah Josepha Hale (author of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For over 30 years, she published editorials and sent letters to governors, senators, presidents, and other politicians. Finally, in 1863 at the height of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln heeded her request and encouraged all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November. And it was celebrated every year on that date until Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1939, FDR moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. (His plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition.) In 1941, he reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. And it is to this day!

We are blessed to live in the land of the free and the home of the brave; a land that welcomes anyone truly seeking freedom. This nation that was founded on G-d-fearing people has been blessed beyond measure. Let us each take a moment to thank G-d for this great country!


“Father, we thank You for having given us the opportunity to live in this great land. Help us to make this country a great beacon for You. Help us to turn from our selfish, self-centered ways and to fully follow You. We worship You, the Ancient of Days, the Author of faith. In You we have our trust. Intervene on Israel’s behalf. It is You, and You alone, Who can spare her. In Your precious Name, we pray.””

IMMEDIATE Prayer Requests:  

  1. Pray for Israel!
  2. Protection of the persecuted church.
  3. Prayer for wisdom to squelch ISIS;  protection of the believers
  4. Pray for America.
  5. Women of Valor Bible Study – that we will move to a new level in prayer with Him!
  6. Attack on our loved ones to be broken and stopped.
  7. Salvation and health of our loved ones.
  8. Pregnant daughters (Les’a & Don’s, etc): prayer the babies & mothers will be healthy
  9. Family gatherings during Thanksgiving
  10. Tere: healing and wisdom in direction
  11. Donna: new job
  12. Deb: victory
  13. Connie: surgery – total healing!
  14. Jim: recovery knee replacement surgery, healing. That he will be pain-free.
  15. 2-year old Grandson (Mary & Joe Benton): Dad has been assigned to David-Monthan!! Please pray little Joshua is well enough to travel to Tucson.
  16. Paul Mann: total restoration.
  17. Shar: overcoming and sense of purpose
  18. Prayer for wisdom and favor as we encounter suffering people.
  20. REVIVAL in Arizona
  21. FRIENDS: many of our friends are hurting physically and emotionally.
  22. FAMILIES & MARRIAGES: strong, healthy and Christ-centered; spiritual, mental, and emotional healing. God will bring families together. Spirit of division will cease. Family relationships healed! Family members who are far off will return and serve God.
  23. PRAYER FOR OUR SOLDIERS: spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally whole!
  24. Protection of believers all over the world.
  25. Encouragement for the heavy-hearted
  26. Bevin (Les’a’s friend’s husband): physical and emotional healing.
  27. Jessica (Lori & Jim’s daughter): return to the God of her youth – the God of her parents.

Read all He is doing through prayer!

  1. Mary and Joe Benton’s son was transferred to Davis-Monthan base in Tucson!
  2. Maggie (Les’a’s sister in law) – healing miracles. Less than a week ago she was non-responsive, and today she is home from the hospital!
  3. Families are being reunited!
  4. Norman got a new job!!!
  5. Natan (Les’a and Don’s son): successful, very intense training!
  6. Yonah (Les’a and Don’s daughter) & her hubbie were given tickets to Israel to minister for a week!
  7. Grandson (Les’a and Don): spared and visited by an angel.
  8. Connie is getting stronger everyday … and able to come to Service last week.
  9. Norman’s brother-in-law has been moved to a regular hospital room!