ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S AMAZING THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION CAME AT A PIVOTAL POINT IN HIS SPIRITUAL LIFE. . Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. It was while Lincoln walked among the graves at Gettysburg that he first committed his life to Jesus Christ. He later explained: “When I left Springfield, to assume the Presidency, I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the hardest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our young men, I then and there consecrated my life to Jesus Christ.
Over the 75 years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day (but the dates varied).
In November 1941, Congress permanently established the 4th Thursday of November as America’s Thanksgiving Holiday.