Greg J Dixon

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Thanksgiving - America’s Oldest Holiday


Thanksgiving - America’s Oldest Holiday

By Pastor Greg Dixon

Thanksgiving is the oldest holiday in America. It began in 1621 and is well documented by the diaries of the Plymouth settlers who set apart a holiday immediately after their first harvest which was an autumn celebration of food, feasting, and praising God.

In 1789 Washington designated a national thanksgiving holiday for the newly ratified Constitution, specifically so that the people may thank God for "affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness" and for having "been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed... "

The first official Thanksgiving Proclamation made in America was issued by the Continental Congress in 1777. Six national Proclamations of Thanksgiving were issued in the first thirty years after the founding of the United States of America as an independent federation of States. President George Washington issued two, President John Adams issued two, President Thomas Jefferson made none and President James Madison issued two. After 1815 there were no more Thanksgiving Proclamations until the Presidency of Lincoln, who made two during the Civil War.

President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a Federal holiday as a "prayerful day of Thanksgiving" on the last Thursday in November. Since then every U.S. President has always made an official Thanksgiving Proclamation on behalf of the nation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939 (approved by Congress in 1941).

This thanksgiving is most special for me because my dear wife Wanda, who I have been married to for fifty-four years, will be able to eat thanksgiving dinner with me after having been in and out of the hospital, including emergency rooms twice, with heart problems over the past six weeks. We are not only grateful for the prayers of many who have prayed for her but also for the skilled doctors, technicians, and nurses who have attended her. However we must always remember that thanksgiving must be translated into more than just thanksgiving but Thanks-Living as expressed so well by my pastor friend and colleague John Stephen Brown, Pastor of the Eternal Grace Baptist Church of Bainbridge, Indiana.


Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" Ephesians 5:20.

1. Giving thanks

2. Giving thanks always

3. Giving thanks always for all things

4. Giving thanks always for all things unto God

5. Giving thanks always for all things unto God in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ

Do you realize that it is impossible to give God true thanks and complain about your circumstances at the same time?

Since "Thanksgiving" is the only God authorized holiday in America, here are few reasons, friends, for which we praise and thank our gracious LORD. This is in keeping with the gospel song entitled "Count Your Blessings" where it wisely counsels us, "to name them one by one."

Someone has written, "If you have good health, unimpaired eyesight, clear mental faculties and full use of all your limbs, you have the four greatest causes of thankfulness in this world. These are four great cornerstone blessings."

Ah, but you say: "My health is failing, my eyesight is dim, my mental clarity is slipping, and my body aches all of the time." Although that may be all true, still, dear friend, a praise you owe to King Jesus for HIS abundant blessings which HE has graciously bestowed upon you.

John Henry Jowett, a preacher of another era wisely writes: "Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road." Therefore, let us heed the injunction issued by the apostle Paul in: Colossians 4:2, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving."

Pastor Brown’s e mail is:




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