Preparing a Modern Thanksgiving Sermon

A new study shows that your church members want you to preach a sermon on our Christian history and heritage, and Thanksgiving is a perfect time for this!

A recent study by Christian pollster George Barna showed that 79% of church members said that they wanted their pastor to do sermons on “Christian heritage — the role of faith in American history” and its “modern-day relevance.” Thanksgiving presents a wonderful opportunity to teach the Bible and also show its influence in American history — and that lessons from our history still have modern day relevance. Below are some resources to help you prepare such a sermon for this Thanksgiving.


An outline for a Modern Thanksgiving Sermon

Some Images & Power Point Templates you can use in a Thanksgiving Sermon

Historic American Thanksgiving Proclamations you can use as Illustrations in a Sermon

Some Historic Thanksgiving Sermons

Some Historic Sermons About the Pilgrims and Puritans

Some Thanksgiving History Articles from WallBuilders

Some Historical Accounts of the Pilgrim Thanksgiving


Modern Sermon

Dr. Paul Jehle is a pastor in Plymouth, MA, as well as the town historian. He is intimately knowledgeable on both the Bible and Pilgrim history, including the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving and how it is still relevant to Christians today. Below are sermon outlines and information from Dr. Jehle that will help pastors to prepare a special Thanksgiving sermon.

In Everything Give Thanks Sermon Notes
By Dr. Paul Jehle
Dr. Paul Jehle gives a Thanksgiving sermon outline for pastors.

The Meaning of Thanksgiving – An Holiday Originally Based on the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles
By Dr. Paul Jehle
Dr. Paul Jehle talks about the meaning of Thanksgiving.

 

Images & Power Point Templates

Below are resources for preparing a visual presentation to accompany a Thanksgiving sermon.

* These websites provide useful images and power point templates. These links will open up a new browser window. Please remember that when you use a link to go from wallbuilders.com to another web site, WallBuilders does not necessarily approve of the content of these external sites.

Historical Images:

The Embarkation of the Pilgrims (Hangs in the Rotunda of the U. S. Capitol)

The Mayflower in Plymouth Harbor (You can purchase a high quality image here.)

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Leon Ferris

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth by Jennie Brownscombe

Thanksgiving Images & Paintings from the Library of Congress

Stock Images:

http://photobucket.com/images/thanksgiving

http://www.stockfreeimages.com/p1/thanksgiving.html

Power Point Templates:

http://www.sharefaith.com/category/fall-thanksgiving-powerpoints.html

http://www.free-power-point-templates.com/category/holidays-in-the-year/thanksgiving-day

http://holidays.pppst.com/thanksgiving.html

 

Proclamations

Below is a listing of a few historic Thanksgiving proclamations that were issued by state governors and U. S. Presidents, including Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and others. These proclamations mainly come from WallBuilders collection of thousands of original documents and books. (Clicking on the links will pull up the text and corresponding picture of that proclamation, and the picture can be copied and used in church visuals or slides.)

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1778, New Hampshire
By Meshech Weare & John Langdon
11/19/1778
A proclamation issued for New Hampshire on November 19, 1778, declaring December 10, 1778 a day of Thanksgiving. This is an interesting handwritten proclamation.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1784, Massachusetts
By John Hancock
11/25/1784
A Thanksgiving proclamation issued by John Hancock, governor of Massachusetts, for November 25, 1784.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1789
By George Washington
10/03/1789
A national Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by George Washington, President of the United States, on October 3, 1789. This was the very first federal Thanksgiving Proclamation issued.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1794, Massachusetts
By Samuel Adams
11/20/1794
A Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Samuel Adams, governor of Massachusetts, for November 20, 1794.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1795
By George Washington
01/01/1795
Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by George Washington, President of the United States, on January 1, 1795.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1811, Massachusetts
By Elbridge Gerry
10/22/1811
A Thanksgiving Proclamation issued by Elbridge Gerry, governor of Massachusetts, on October 22, 1811.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1863
By Abraham Lincoln
10/03/1863
A national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, issued by Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, on October 3, 1863.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1887
By Grover Cleveland
10/25/1887
The text of a handwritten Proclamation for a Day of Thanksgiving and Prayer, issued by Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, on October 25, 1887.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1909
By William H. Taft
11/15/1909
A national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, issued by William H. Taft, President of the United States on November 15, 1909.

Proclamation – Thanksgiving Day – 1933
By Franklin D. Roosevelt
11/21/1933
A national Thanksgiving Proclamation, issued by Franklin Roosevelt, President of the United States, on November 21, 1933.

See many more historic proclamations on WallBuilders Thanksgiving Proclamations page!

 

Historic Sermons

Below is a listing of Thanksgiving sermons that are included here for historical context. Each of these sermons is from WallBuilders collection. (Clicking on a link will pull up the complete text of the sermon.)

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1774
By John Lathrop
12/15/1774
A Thanksgiving sermon preached by John Lathrop on December 15, 1774.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1795
By Levi Frisbie
02/19/1795
A Thanksgiving sermon preached by Levi Frisbie on February 19, 1795.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1795
By Joseph Lathrop
02/19/1795
A Thanksgiving sermon preached by Joseph Lathrop on February 19, 1795 in West Springfield, MA.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1795 Philadelphia
By Samuel Stanhope Smith
02/19/1795
A sermon preached by Samuel Stanhope Smith on the day of national Thanksgiving on February 19, 1795.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1814
By William Ellery Channing
06/15/1814
A Thanksgiving preached by William Ellery Channing in Boston on June 15, 1814.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1825 Massachusetts
By David Oliphant
11/24/1825
A Thanksgiving sermon preached in Salem by David Oliphant on November 24, 1825.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1838
By Samuel Hopkins
11/29/1838
A Thanksgiving sermon preached by Samuel Hopkins in Maine on November 29, 1838.

Sermon – Thanksgiving – 1864 Connecticut
By Charles Little
11/24/1864
A Thanksgiving sermon by Charles Little on November 24, 1864.

For more Thanksgiving sermons, visit WallBuilders Historical Sermons page!

 

Sermons About the Pilgrims and Puritans

Below is a listing of Pilgrim and Puritan related sermons that are included here for historical context. Each of these sermons is from WallBuilders collection. (Clicking on a link will pull up the complete text of the sermon.)

Sermon – Pilgrims – 1793
By Chandler Robbins
12/22/1793
A sermon preached on the Pilgrims by Chandler Robbins on December 22, 1793.

Sermon – Pilgrims – 1820
By Joel Mann
12/22/1820
A sermon about the Pilgrims preached by Joel Mann on December 22, 1820.

Sermon – Pilgrims – 1827
By Lyman Beecher
12/22/1827
A sermon about the Pilgrims preached by Lyman Beecher on December 22, 1827.

Sermon – Pilgrims – 1846
By Alexander Buel
12/22/1846
A sermon about the Pilgrims preached by Alexander W. Buel in Detroit on December 22, 1846.

Oration – Pilgrims – 1853
By Charles Sumner
08/01/1853
An oration about the Pilgrims by U. S. Senator Charles Sumner, a leading anti-slavery politician of the time.

 

Articles from WallBuilders

Below are articles from WallBuilders on Thanksgiving history and related information.

Celebrating Thanksgiving in America
By David Barton
11/2008
An article about Thanksgiving, explaining the origins of the holiday and including some Founding Fathers quotes.

Quick Facts on Thanksgiving
By David Barton
11/21/2007
The tradition of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving: An American Holiday
By David Barton
11/23/2011
Celebrate the History of Thanksgiving.

The Mayflower and Presidents: What do they have in common?
By David Barton
11/21/2012
Learn more about the tradition of Thanksgiving and the legacy the Pilgrims left behind.

Who Led the Plymouth Pilgrims?
By David Barton
11/26/2014
Find out more about this early Plymouth governor.

Thanksgiving History Video
By David Barton
11/27/2013
David Barton shares the history of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Wartime
By David Barton
11/25/2015
Thanksgiving celebrations in American history during wartime.

 

Historical Accounts

Historical Accounts of the Pilgrims First Thanksgiving
Various Historians
Check out these historical accounts of the Pilgrims first Thanksgiving. Included are accounts from:
Edward Winslow (1595-1655) – An elder and an early governor of the Plymouth colony. He dealt with the Indians on behalf of the colony. And he wrote some of the early first-hand accounts of the Pilgrims, including one in 1621 about the first Thanksgiving.
Benson John Lossing (1813-1891) – A respected historian who also worked as a journalist. He wrote dozens of books throughout his life and was respected for his reliance on original documents.