pilgrims thanksgiving1

Is Thanksgiving A Christian Holiday?

Duke Taber General Teachings, Teachings

It is time once again for the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. It has traditionally been a time where we set aside our daily labors and give thanks to God for His abundant providence upon us. However in recent years, with the secularization of our society, questions have arisen as to whether Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday. Now, I think it would be remiss to say that Thanksgiving or the ability to give thanks is exclusive to Christianity. However the concept of giving thanks assumes a belief in God, for if you are not giving thanks to God, then whom are you giving thanks to? To give thanks to ourselves would be an extreme exercise in hubris.

We Americans have been taught since kindergarten that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated at Plymouth Ma. by the pilgrims. We have cute little plays with kids dressed up as native Americans and pilgrims in black and white outfits, and turkeys with all their feathers. However if you look at the historical record, other than the fact that the pilgrims gave thanks at every meal, this was not a day set aside to give thanks. It was a celebration of the harvest. The native Americans did not originally come to join in with their thanksgiving, but came armed with 93 braves and no women. When they saw that the pilgrims were not preparing for war, they then decided to join the festivities. 

So even though our culture declares this the first Thanksgiving celebration, it was in fact, nothing more than a continuation of the English tradition of celebrating the harvest. It was not a Thanksgiving holiday.


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