Bonus quote: The quieter the mind, the more powerful, the
worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the
prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible.

Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)
Photo by Chuck Bowman
Photo: Chuck Bowman
Photo by Chuck Bowman


                           The Religion Network
                        Inspirational Quotes for the Day.


This page changes each weekday.

    At the top of the Home Page:
    --With gladsome minds...
    --We ask for one thing more

    Midway down the page:
    --A grace from Lebanon
    --Part 2: A Nation of Thanksgiving

    For Prayer Warriors who scroll down:
    --A Jewish blessing
   And the Last Word:
    A Christian blessing from the sixth century
    WELCOME! I'm Lisa Bowman. The Religion Network is an
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Photo by Chuck Bowman
Photo by Stephen Bowman
The First Thanksgiving
Jennie A. Brownscombe
Let us, with a gladsome mind,
Praise the Lord, for He is Kind;
For His mercies still endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.

All things living
He doth feed,
His full hand supplies their need:

Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord, for He is kind.

John Milton (1609-1674)
English poet, champion of  the Puritan cause
To all else thou hast given us,
O Lord,
we ask for but one thing more:
Give us
grateful hearts.

George Herbert (1593-1633)
English poet and priest
May the abundance of this table never fail and never be less, thanks to the
blessing of God, who has fed us and satisfied our needs. To Him be the glory
forever. Amen.

Armenian grace from Lebanon
From "Bless This Food" by Adrian Butash
Delacorte Press, 1993
A Nation of Thanksgiving
Part two: Permanent National Gratitude
The Puritan Pilgrims, who along with 90 Wampanoag men
and some Massasoit Indians, sat down together in October
of 1621, would not have referred to their celebratory meal
as a religious "Thenksgiving." These British separatists
recognized three kinds of holidays to be Bible-sanctioned:
the Sabbath, days of Thanksgiving and days of fasting. The
latter two could be proclaimed only by the governor and
only in response to specific events such as a good harvest
in the case of thanksgiving, or a drought, in the case of a
community fast. And since what we think of as the first
Thanksgiving embraced secular elements as well, our
forefathers would not have considered it a religious event.

However, two years after that celebration, the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts
observed a day of Thanksgiving and prayer on June 30, 1623, which more closely resembled our current

For the following 150 years or so, days of thanksgiving occurred sporadically and locally. It wasn't until
1789 that Elias Boudinot, a member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts introduced a
resolution calling for President George Washington to "...recommend to the people of the United States
a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the
many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish
a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness." The President issued the proclamation in
New York on October 3, 1789. It read in part:

"Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by
the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author
of all the good that was, that is, or that will be--That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our
sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this country..."

The next three Presidents proclaimed similar such days. One exception was Thomas Jefferson. Although
as the Governor of Virginia he had proclaimed in 1779, "...a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty
God," he felt it was improper for the federal government to require a religious holiday of the entire
nation and thus declined to do so.

Thanksgiving is an annual holiday largely due to the efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale. As the editor of
"Ladies Magazine" and "Godbey's Lady's Book," she began in 1827 to publish articles calling for a
yearly celebration. For the next 36 years she peppered governors, senators and presidents with letters,
urging them to create the holiday. In October of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, heartened by the
Union Army victory at Gettysburg, proclaimed a day of national Thanksgiving, to be held the fourth
Thursday of each November. Thanksgiving officially became "set in cement" as a national celebration
the fourth Thursday in November by a Congressional Joint Resolution in 1941.

History shows us that the holiday we observe as Thanksgiving grew from both secular and religious
roots intertwined. The rugged individuals in 17th-century Massachusetts suffered religious persecution
in Europe as well as the rigors of surviving a wild new land. On their backs they bore the hope of a new
nation. In their hearts they nurtured the seeds of freedom. The generations that followed sprouted
those seeds into an unproven form of government, historically unprecedented in its gift of liberty to the
people. It has taken wars, legislative struggles and a dauntless  population willing to let go of
preconceptions and prejudices to begin putting the noble ideas of our government's documents into
practice. Through it all, the American people have regularly knelt down in humble gratitude for the
enduring benefits of our democracy and to the Creator who smiles upon it. This is what makes
Thanksgiving uniquely an
American holiday. Happy Thanksgiving.

--Lisa Bowman

Sources:, Smithsonian Information,
Detail from "The First Thanksgiving"
Jennie A. Brownscombe
O come, let us sing unto the Lord,
Let us joyfully acclaim the Rock of our salvation.
Let us approach Him with thanksgiving,
And acclaim Him with songs of praise.

Traditional Jewish Blessing
God who invites us always
  to spiritual delights,
give blessing over your gifts
  so that we might deserve
to partake in the blessed things
  which to ought to be added
to your name.

Let your gifts refresh us,
and let your grace
  comfort us.

Early Christian Grace
Sixth century
And now, the Last Word: