A Brief History of Thanksgiving

By Larry Isaacson 

When the Pilgrims came to Plymouth in 1620 aboard the Mayflower, they had already agreed to abide by the "Mayflower Compact" signed while crossing the ocean and which obligated them to pass just and equal laws for the general good of the colony.

As Puritans, they also carried with them a deep and abiding faith in the Hebrew Bible, and believed that the laws in Leviticus were obligatory for them as well as for the Jews. It is no surprise, therefore, that after the hardships of that first, terrible winter where only 50 survived of the 110 who left England, that the then Governor, William Bradford, declared a day of Thanksgiving, saying "Our fathers cried unto Him and He heard their voice and looked on their adversity" (Deuteronomy 26:7). Knowledgeable of the Jewish scriptures, and considering themselves chosen like the Jews of old, they saw the Festival of Weeks (Sukkot) as a model on which to base their celebration of God's mercy.

Bradford could not believe his eyes when a Wampanoag Indian by the name of Samoset walked into their devastated camp in March of that terrible year and spoke an English which he had learned from British fishermen along the coast. He introduced the starving colonists to his friend Squanto, who spoke even better English after having lived in England for over 10 years. It was Squanto who actually taught them how to survive the bitter Massachusetts winter by growing corn, catching fish, and tapping maple syrup from the appropriate trees in time before the next onset of winter. As the spring progressed, the colonists recovered, and to thank God and the Indians for their help, Bradford declared a three day Thanksgiving holiday that Squanto, the local Wampanoag chief Massasoit, and 90 braves attended. In the spirit of the occasion, and understanding the dire straits of the colonists, they also brought most of their own food!

In the years that followed, the colonists took to celebrating Thanksgiving in the fall after the harvests, but did it on different days. It wasn't until Lincoln's "Thanksgiving Proclamation" in 1863, in the midst of a terrible Civil War, that the final Thursday of November was selected as a national day of Thanksgiving. Lincoln saw a resurgent North growing in prosperity and population even in the midst of this awful conflict, and thought it the result of Divine Providence: "They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."

Lincoln further said, eloquent as always:" I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens... commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union."

Today we continue to celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of the month, and though it has become a more secular holiday in actual practice, we should still take some time out in its course to thank God for all that we have.

Larry Isaacson is Vice President of Haskell New York Inc. and contributing author for OfficeSalesUSA.com and

Thanksgiving Wishes and Messages

By Thomas C Mill  

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of the year when families come together in the United States and Canada to give thanks for what they have and to enjoy each other's company. The traditional meal is served with turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. It is also customary to send Thanksgiving cards at this time. Sometimes it can be a challenge to come up with the right words to put down on a Thanksgiving card. But fear not, we've got you covered with this collection of Thanksgiving wishes which you can use as you like. Enjoy the gratitude and spirit of the season. Happy Thanksgiving!

Let us take a chance to recollect the immense times spent together, scrumptious turkeys eaten and magnificent garments purchased to commend this day. Have an incredible Thanksgiving day.

Warmest considerations and best wishes for a wonderful holiday and an extremely happy New Year.

Sending you my warm wishes from home to home and from heart to heart to wish you an exceptionally Happy Thanksgiving! May this day be a delightful reminder of the awesome things in life.

The blessing of wonderful companions is the most delightful gift of all. You are in my heart and thoughts all year, and, particularly amid this special season.

May you have a superb time this Thanksgiving, with your loved ones. Appreciate and be grateful. Happy Thanksgiving Day.

You are a very precious gift to us. May love, happiness and health be yours in wealth this Thanksgiving season.

You're in my mind and my heart. Hoping that this day holds all the joy, happiness, and affection for a brilliant and joyous Thanksgiving.

The thing I'm most appreciative for right now is elastic waistbands.

Thanksgiving is not only for expressing gratitude for what you have. It is also a period to be appreciative for what you are going to have. So have a happy Thanksgiving Day!

We ought to search for somebody to eat and drink with before searching for something to eat and drink.

Express gratitude toward God each morning when you get up that you have something to do that day, which must be done, regardless.

Gratitude is nothing but the heart's memory.

Forever on Thanksgiving Day the heart will discover the pathway home. I'm grateful for a great number of things, however I'm most appreciative for you!

I am including in this message my wishes for God's blessings to rain down upon you and for you to have a healthy and long life. May you get up each morning feeling refreshed and full of joyousness, Have a blissful Thanksgiving.

Have a peaceful and happy, abundant and comfortable, prosperous and humble Thanksgiving. Appreciate all you can.

Pray to God for the individuals who have been less lucky, in affliction, in agony. May this day bring peace to their lives and better their days. May God alleviate them from their miseries.

Much thanks to you God for your unbounded gifts and abundant harvest. It is because of you that we value life every day. May your gifts keep us on the path of kindness.

Make me a decent person, to deal kindly with my family. Make me a decent spouse, to cherish with my partner. Make me a decent individual, to be an example of humility. I need to better the world starting on this Thanksgiving Day.

May this Thanksgiving find you with much love in your heart, a table surrounded by loved ones and a stomach full of delicious food. Smile and be grateful for all you have been blessed with.

We hope you have enjoyed these Thanksgiving wishes and messages and that you found the perfect one for you or that you were inspired to create your own.

If you would like to see more, check out our huge collection of Thanksgiving messages.

Or if you are excited for the New Year, enjoy this enormous collection of New Year wishes.

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