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Christian Thanksgiving Day | Religious Thanksgiving

Christian Thanksgiving Day is a holiday instituted in the USA, but why exactly is celebrated? What is the date of Thanksgiving, its origins, or the famous menu? Reading this article, you can discover all you need to know about Thanksgiving as a religious holiday.

Christian Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November each year. It is perhaps as famous as Christmas. It all started with the pioneers who were generous on the Mayflower and showed gratitude to God through their gifts of food and prayer.

In 1621, the Pilgrim Fathers from England disembarked from the Mayflower. Their first winter on American soil was particularly harsh, decimating half of them. In the spring, the Indians came to their aid, providing them with food and teaching them to fish, hunt, and grow local plants, especially corn. To thank them, the pioneers invited them to share a meal of wild turkey, unknown to the settlers, and to celebrate their generosity – Thanksgiving – before God with their prayers.

Read also: The Roots of The Feast of the Winter Solstice.


What is Thanksgiving?

For some, the origins date back to 1623. That year, because of the drought, it was proclaimed a day of prayer and fasting. A few days later, rain fell and saved the crops. A day of thanksgiving was decreed at the end of November. Since then, several religious Thanksgiving Days have passed. It was established as a national day in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that dates back to the fall of 1621 when it was decided to celebrate the first harvests in Plymouth. These harvests would ensure the future of the colony. Indeed, English dissenters had disembarked from the Mayflower the previous winter. These Pilgrim fathers founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts. The first winter was terrible. Scurvy, cold, and hunger killed half of them.

In the spring, the Wampanoag Indians offered them food. They taught them to fend for themselves and the art of fishing and hunting. They showed them how to grow and harvest corn. Also, they told them the virtues of certain plants and those to avoid. Pumpkins also played an important role in winter. So during the first harvest in 1621, three days were dedicated to religious Thanksgiving.

Read also: All Saints’ Day. What Is The History And Meaning Of This Feast?

Christian Thanksgiving Day

The beginnings of the Thanksgiving celebration

Thanksgiving in Church

For many of God’s children, it’s natural to thank Him when we get a free blessing. But the verse specifies that we must give thanks in all things to use the Sower version in all circumstances. In other words, provide thank events circumstances don’t seem pleasant. There are many instances where giving thanks is much less spontaneous. Our flesh won’t even think about it.

Thanksgiving in the Church is a holiday to remember the need to express your gratitude or appreciation for what we have received as a blessing from God. The most common expression of gratitude in our everyday language is “Thank you.” It is normal to say thank you when we receive something. But, thanks is much more than a simple expression of politeness. Thanksgiving is a Christian attitude and a way of life.

We must also look to the Gospel, which teaches us to be like Jesus, who was thankful. He cried when Jesus heard that his friend Lazarus had lost his life friend Lazarus had lost his life, he cried. However, the account says in John 11:41 (KJV), “So they took the stone. And Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.”

Thanksgiving poems for church

We Gather Together

We gather together to ask for the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining and maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning of the fight, we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!
We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.

Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name is ever praised! O Lord, make us accessible!

—Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn (A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851–1934)

We Give Thanks

Our Father in Heaven,
We give thanks for the pleasure
Of gathering together for this occasion.

We give thanks for this food
Prepared by loving hands.

We give thanks for life,
The freedom to enjoy it all
And all other blessings.

As we partake of this food,
We pray for health and strength
To carry on and try to live as You would have us.

This we ask in the name of Christ,
Our Heavenly Father.

—Harry Jewell


A Thanksgiving Prayer

For those who bravely dared to face
The wolf fangs of the sea,
To find a land where they might dwell
In faith and liberty.
For pioneers who blazed the trails
And broke the virgin sod
With strength and spirit, firm and sure,
Today, we thank thee, God!

For ancestors with a vision
As vast and deep and high
And as filled with stars of promise
As the eternal sky,
For health and homes and country
And laughter, sweet and gay
For all of these – and love and faith
We thank thee, God, today!

– Blanche Lea Walden

Read also: How to start a prayer | Prayer Journaling

Why is Thanksgiving bad?

The religious Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday on the American calendar. It is celebrated in every state and involves most trips made by family members to celebrate the day with their loved ones.

Some consider Thanksgiving ominous because it’s just feasting, not celebrating its true purpose: giving thanks for blessings. Thanksgiving Day is an annual one-day holiday to thank God for the bounty of that year’s harvest, but most people forget to do it again. The religious Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

The holiday, first officially recognized in the mid-1800s, placed less emphasis on gift-giving and more on giving thanks. On Thanksgiving, neighbors, relatives, and friends gather in homes across the U.S., feast on turkey and pumpkin pie, and show gratitude for health, happiness, and those around them.

Read also: Feast of the Holy Trinity. God in Three Persons


When was Thanksgiving created?

The merchant ship Mayflower left Plymouth harbor in England in September 1620. With 102 passengers on board, primarily religious separatists drawn to the New World, the boat will take more than two months to reach American shores. These Separatists, called Pilgrim Fathers, were among the first settlers to venture across the Atlantic.

Thanksgiving was created in 1621 by religious passengers (the Pilgrim’s Fathers) who arrived in America’s New World and wanted to thank God. The holiday falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and for 400 years to the day, Americans have celebrated the Christian Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is inseparable from the arrival of the first settlers in the New World one fine day in November 1620 aboard the famous Mayflower. The 102 passengers, including Puritan Father Pilgrims, created the Plymouth Colony. By settling in the territory of today’s Wampanoags of Massachusetts. Native Americans and settlers forge bonds and then agree to help each other. The Wampanoags share their knowledge of growing corn, fishing, and the year 1621 ends with a good harvest. To thank God and the Wampanoags, the governor of the colony invites them to a festive meal during which native New World birds, and turkeys, are slaughtered at the guests’ table.

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The History of Thanksgiving in America

To understand the origin of this holiday, we must go back to the 17th century when the founding fathers came to America and were taught how to survive. Without the help of the native Americans, the founding fathers would probably have starved to death. And the year after their arrival, they decided to organize a banquet to thank God for the abundance of crops and the Native Americans for their help. Thus, this holiday is both religious and cultural; we celebrate all we have “received” during the year.

The History of Thanksgiving Day in the United States began in 1941 when the founding fathers arrived in America and were welcomed by the Native Americans who taught them their hunting, farming, and fishing techniques. And this holiday is symbolic for the Americans; all get together with family or friends, around a delicious dinner, after often having traveled many miles to be gathered.

At the original meal between the Founding Fathers and the Native Americans, the latter brought wild turkeys as gifts, and this tradition has remained. The turkey is the very emblem of Thanksgiving. Stuffed and roasted in the oven, Christian Thanksgiving without turkey is unthinkable! There are also Thanksgiving Day parades in the United States, usually featuring school bands and various floats. Also, in the US, most businesses are closed on Thursdays and Fridays to allow employees to spend more time with family and friends. The only stores that remain open are the stores with Thanksgiving followed by Black Friday, the biggest sales day of the year.

Read also: What happened on Good Friday? Why was it called Good Friday when Jesus was crucified?


Primary Takeaways
  • Thanksgiving is a day of celebration to give thanks to the Lord, as when you present your requests to Him, it is a declaration of faith that they will be answered. And your faith is pleasing to Him (Hebrews 11:6).
  • In a problematic situation, when you thank God, lifting your eyes to heaven as Jesus did (John 11:41), you say: Father, I choose to look to You rather than this situation. I prefer to look to  Your goodness, faithfulness, and infinite love. And as I look to You, I receive Your life, healing, restoration, multiplication, wonder, miracle.
  • Thanksgiving is the reason to remember that thanksgiving is not a one-time act. It is an act of every moment. It is a way of life. Work at it intentionally and relentlessly until your soul fully embraces it.

Read also: Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. 



The Christian Thanksgiving Day it’s an opportunity to remember that thanksgiving preceded Jesus’ greatest miracle. Is there any pain worse than the death of a loved one, just like Jesus loved Lazarus? But He didn’t hesitate to give thanks because He trusted His Father, Almighty, to reverse the situation. Jesus is giving you a lesson in faith today. This account is not an isolated instance of thanksgiving from Christ. Despite the suffering they foreshadowed, he gave thanks when he shared the bread and wine. So, if Jesus often addressed words of thanksgiving to the Father, should we not do the same, if not more?

Philippians 4:6 tells us clearly, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything make your needs known to God by prayer and petition with thanksgiving. ” The Bible commands us to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17). This is how we communicate with our Father. And whatever prayer you pray, you must accompany it with thanksgiving… Always! In other words, on this beautiful religious Thanksgiving Day, remember that your prayer is not complete when you pray and don’t give thanks.