From the Master of Kadosh (November, 2013)

posted May 30, 2015, 2:46 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite   [ updated May 30, 2015, 2:46 PM ]
At the end of the first harvest in the new world, the Pilgrims at Plymouth along with Chief Massasoit and a party of 90 friendly Indians joined in a celebratory act that consisted of “three days of prayer and feasting.”
The Mayflower passengers that signed the agreement that became known as the “Mayflower Compact” stated they had come to the New World to escape religious persecution and “for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian faith.” They endured a stormy voyage across the Atlantic Ocean at the worst possible time of the year and later participated in that festival to give thanks to Almighty God. The Pilgrims were thankful they had survived a stormy voyage, endured a terrible winter, and had been blessed with a good harvest that provided them with food. Lest we forget, this is the heritage the Pilgrims passed on to us.
A national holiday, celebrated with a festive turkey feast, commemorates it, but the heritage of those sturdy Pilgrims reminds us that true thanksgiving is more. While surrounded by an abundance of things which are the accouterments of an affluent society, we must not forget that back of these things there is the providential care of Almighty God, and like the Pilgrims, we are recipients of that care. To see life from this perspective is to see that God’s mercies, new every morning and fresh every evening, are more than we can number. So, gratitude rises in the heart, and we are thankful.
 “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse”. Henry Van Dyke
George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation
Written by George Washington in 1789, this was the first official Presidential Proclamation made in the United States.  Shortly after the Thanksgiving Proclamation was written, it was lost for 130 years.  It was likely misplaced when the US Capitol moved from New York to Washington, D.C.  It now resides in the Library of Congress.
This is an excerpt from that proclamation.

Written, compiled and edited by  Gerald R Best 32⁰ for the San Jose Scottish Rite Word