Thanksgiving might not be celebrated in this country today, were it not for a determined woman by the name of Sarah Hale.
Most Americans know that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621 to give thanks for their first winter in the New World. In 1789, President Washington issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation to commemorate the first Pilgrim celebration. But Thomas Jefferson, our third President, ended it, calling Thanksgiving "a kingly practice." After this, Thanksgiving was honored by some individual states on whatever date they chose.
Then in 1828, Mrs. Hale, the author of the poem "Mary Had A Little Lamb," began campaigning for the reestablishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Over the years, she wrote letters to five U.S. presidents, and sought appointments with national leaders. She was turned down so many times, being told that it was "impossible" and "impractical."
Finally in 1863 President Lincoln listened sincerely to her plea that the North and the South "lay aside enmities and strife on Thanksgiving Day." He then proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November to be the official "National Thanksgiving Day." This day was officially ratified by Congress in 1941. Her determination paid off. Because of that, we celebrate Thanksgiving today.
On Thanksgiving, consider two questions. First, for what things in our lives are we thankful to God? Second, how can we show our gratitude to our Creator for all that He has done for us?
I am grateful today for Sarah Hale, and her hard work many years ago in establishing a national day of Thanksgiving. May this day truly be what she envisioned, a day of gratitude and Thanksgiving for all of us.