Ancient Connections of Thanksgiving and Christmas

Here is some fodder for your Thanksgiving day discussions around the turkey — which is the more sacred holiday in America, Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Check your learning of history at the door. This history of both holidays goes back further than you know — and both are related to each other in significant ways. Watch this video:

Christmas, while constantly under a cloud in regular debates of what is politically correct or not, was NEVER a religious holiday in America. It may have been a religious holiday once-upon-a-time in Rome. The mashed-up words “Christ” and “mass”, which many historians say are the origins of the word Christmas, are inherently religious.

But long before the dry-as-toast declaration of Christmas as a national holiday in America (which makes zero mention of God or religion) Christmas was at best a day for partying — not praying.

In fact, Christmas only became a holiday when federal workers complained when they did not get the day off the same as their private sector counterparts. Then and only then, in 1870, did Congress act to make Christmas officially a holiday.

Thanksgiving on the other hand has rarely been without a national connection to God. Nearly every president has declared Thanksgiving with an acknowledgement of God and a call for prayers. George Washington famously made it one of his first official acts. And Abraham Lincoln, a figure modern historians muse may have been atheist, never declared God more loudly than in proclaiming Thanksgiving.

Both Christmas and Thanksgiving in modern times carry sacred and secular significance. Whether you choose to celebrate those days in either fashion — or a combination of both — it is acceptable.

That is the benefit of living in a free society.

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