We love Thanksgiving leftovers, don’t you?!

Did you know that many of the days of Thanksgiving in our nation’s history had nothing to do with the Pilgrims, Native Americans, or a celebration of the harvest? Instead, they were days of prayer and thanksgiving for a different kind of harvest – a harvest of blessings received from God.

Check out these excerpts from George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation made on January 1, 1795 recognizing the nation’s prosperity, internal tranquility, and the exemption from foreign wars:

“Meet together”

He recommends the day “to all religious societies and denominations, and to all persons whomsoever, within the United States… as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer: and on that day to meet together and render their sincere and hearty thanks to the great Ruler of nations.”

“Duty to act”

He then gives the people a vision of their duty “as citizens and as men… to render this country, more and more, a propitious asylum for the unfortunate of other countries — to extend among us true and useful knowledge — to diffuse and establish habits of sobriety, order, morality, and piety — and, finally, to impart all blessings we possess or ask for ourselves, to the whole family of mankind.”

As we begin the Christmas and holiday season, how can we use these “Thanksgiving leftovers” to help us to impart of the blessings we possess “to the whole family of mankind?”

George Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation from the Mercury One historical collection. Photo courtesy of Mercury One.

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Republished with permission from MercuryOne.org.