Christian History

Thanksgiving

Today’s Thanksgiving feast has its origins in an English Reformation tradition carried on by the pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth in 1620. In an affront to the Catholic liturgical calendar, Puritans celebrated days of fasting and days of feasting—notably the day of feasting at the end of the fall harvest—in gratitude for God’s provision. In an age where consumption of food is often far removed from fields where it is produced, a growing number of evangelicals have reinterpreted the holiday as a time not only to thank God for abundance, but to examine where abundance comes from and the ethics of food, hunger, and environment.
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January 15, 345 (traditional date): Paul of Thebes, traditionally considered the first Christian hermit and an inspiration for Antony of Egypt and later Christian monasticism, dies (see issue 64: Antony and the Desert Fathers).

January 15, 1697: Massachusetts citizens observe a day of fasting and repentance for the Salem witch trials of 1692, in which 19 suspected witches were hanged and more than 150 imprisoned. The day was declared "That so all of God's people may offer up fervent supplications ...

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