*Today's guest post is brought to you by Dr. F. Dean Hackett, also known as my dad.*  

What is the History Behind the American Day of Thanksgiving Pt. 4

December 16, 1620, they were able to sail to the permanent
location. It had a perfect harbor, able to handle vessels with a draft twice
that of the Mayflower. There was a large open field, easily defendable, with
gentle slopes to the water’s edge. Four spring fed creeks with sweet water
flowed through the area.

            December 25th
they began building the common house for the people and their supplies. One
month later, January 21, 1620, the sick were filling the common house and the roof
caught fire. The common house was saved but some much needed supplies were

completing the common house, they began building homes for the families. As
they moved into the month of February, two people a day were dying from
sickness, on some days three and February 21st four people died. One
day in February there were only five men well enough to care for the sick, one
of them being William Bradford. Only fourteen people died in March and by mid
April, the worst had passed. Nearly half the colony had died that winter, a
total of forty-seven people. Thirteen of the eighteen wives had been lost and
only three of the original families remained without the loss of a loved one.

Through it all their hearts
remained soft to the Lord Jesus Christ. Sunday was their favorite day of the
week, as they gathered for public worship. Over the remaining months of 1621
God brought divine provision, safety and harvest.

October 1621 Governor Bradford
declared a day of public thanksgiving. The neighboring Indian chief, Massasoit,
was invited. He arrived a day early with ninety of his people. They did not
come empty handed. Their contribution to the Thanksgiving meal was five deer
and a dozen fat wild turkey. That first Thanksgiving Day
was celebrated with food, fun, laughter, games and wonderful fellowship between
the first European people and the Native Americans.


            He felt
more troubled than he had ever felt in his life. The very fate of the Union was
at stake. This was the most critical hour of the war and perhaps the most
critical hour in the history of the United States.

desperation, he left his office, crossed the hall into his private chambers,
and locked the door. He fell to his knees in front of a chair; head in his
hands, he began to weep and pour out a prayer. He cried out to God that he had
done all he knew to do and pleaded for help. After a heartbreaking hour of prayer he
rose from his knees, crossed the hall to his office again, but with a great
burdened lifted from his shoulders.

            As Mr.
Lincoln returned to his desk, before him lay a copy of the new “Thanksgiving
Proclamation” he was about to sign, declaring the last Thursday of November as
a day of national Thanksgiving. The nation had never had such an annual Day of
Thanksgiving and President Abraham Lincoln believed it was time for the nation
to remember how God had blessed and prospered this great country. The
Proclamation read:

            “We have
been recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven…

            We have
forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace…

We have become too self-sufficient
to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to
the God that made us.”

Tear slipped down his face as he again read the words he had
written. He believed them deeply. It was that deep belief that moved him to
order the Treasury Department to engrave on every American coin, “In God We

Dr. F Dean Hackett is the Sr Pastor of Living Faith Church in Hermiston, OR.  He has been in full-time ministry for over 30 years, during which time he has both successfully pastored many churches as well as planted many others. But most importantly, he is my dad and is a frequent guest here on my blog.

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