Here is a part of the Thanksgiving story you may not know. While the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October of 1621, it was not until October of 1777 that all 13 colonies celebrated Thanksgiving for the first time. At one point, our first president, George Washington, proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving, but conflict and difficulties among the colonies ended its observance.
It was a magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, whose work led to the celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday we observe today. Hale wrote letters to governors and presidents and editorials in magazines, books, and newspapers, promoting the observance of Thanksgiving. In 1863, after 40 years of letter writing and campaigning (that’s not a typo; she really wrote letters for 40 years), Hale’s persistence paid off, and President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. Since then, every president has supported Thanksgiving. Forty years of dedication, persistence, and passion caused our country to celebrate a National Day of Thanksgiving each year. Impressive.
The story of Sarah Josepha Hale's dedication, persistence, and passion in advocating for the observance of Thanksgiving can serve as a biblical application for Christians. Despite opposition and setbacks, it highlights the importance of perseverance, faithfulness, and fulfilling God's purposes.
Perseverance and Dedication: Hale's 40 years of letter writing and campaigning is a testament to her steadfastness and commitment to her cause. Christians are called to persevere in their faith and in doing good works, even when it seems their efforts do not yield immediate results.
Galatians 6:9 - "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Passion and Conviction: Hale's passion for promoting the observance of Thanksgiving was evident in her relentless pursuit of her goal. Christians are called to passion and fervor in their service to God and in spreading the Gospel.
Romans 12:11 - "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord."
Trusting in God's Timing: Despite years of effort, it was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving. This highlights the importance of trusting in God's perfect timing and recognizing that His plans will come to fruition in His own time, not ours.
Psalm 27:14 - "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
The Power of Influence: Hale's letters to governors, presidents, and various publications' editorials demonstrate her influence's impact. As Christians, we are called to be salt and light in the world, using our influence to advocate for justice, righteousness, and the spread of the gospel.
Matthew 5:13-16 - "You are the salt of the earth... You are the light of the world. ...let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."
Overall, Hale's story reminds Christians to persevere, remain passionate, trust in God's timing, and use their influence for God's purposes.