Did You Know? Abraham Lincoln instituted the first Thanksgiving in 1863, not simply as a remembrance of Pilgrims and Native Americans, but as a reminder to thank the God who gave us everything we have.
From his Thanksgiving Proclamation:
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
-Abraham Lincoln, 1863
Translation: Give thanks to God for all of the blessings in your life today; trust in His Divine Providence to take care of everything you need; and pray for true peace and healing in the lives of all.
For thanks to mean anything, it has to be directed to someone