I made a decision in my life as a husband and father to not allow the celebration of days stemming from pagan origin to go on in my home and family. This would include days that are truly nothing more than "baptized paganism" such as Christmas and Easter. These two festivals were never celebrated by the apostolic assembly according to the writings of the Messianic Scriptures. Any research on the origin of these holidays will yield a beginning that is much less than noble towards Yahweh. What has happened is that people have intermingled pagan practices with Scripture, and Yahweh does not approve of such.
"This is what Yahweh of Hosts says: Ask the priests for a ruling. If a man is carrying consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and with his fold touches bread, stew, wine, oil, or any other food, does it become holy? The priests answered, "No." then Haggai asked, "If someone defiled by [contact with] a corpse touches any of these, does it become defiled?" The priests answered, "It becomes defiled." Then Haggai replied, "So is this people, and so is this nation before me" - Yahweh's declaration. "And so is every work of their hands; even what they offer there is defiled." (Haggai 2:11-14 HCSB)
Is such the case with Thanksgiving? To my knowledge the answer is a negative. I've not found any evidence that the American holiday known as Thanksgiving has any origins in pagan worship, that is, worship dedicated to false gods. I believe the festival simply commemorates a happening in the early stages of this country, similar to July 4th which commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
This being said, a word of caution must be added. What I do not believe should be done is to subsitute Yahweh's commandmend festivals for man-made ones. There were festivals celebrated in Scripture that were not commanded by Yahweh such as Purim (Esther 8-9) and Hannukah (John 10:22). These festivals were celebrated in order to commemorate happenings in the nation of Israel. Israelite history so to speak. These festivals were never meant to be substitutes for Yahweh's commanded feasts in Leviticus 23, but only additional commemorations of important happenings.
I believe as long as we recognize this point in regards to Thanksgiving, we are keeping it in its proper perspective. What we should not do is "scrap" the Feast of Tabernacles - Yahweh's commanded harvest festival - and replace it with one not commanded in Scripture, Thanksgiving. However, so long as we celebrate what Yahweh has commanded, we are not forbidden to commemorate noble, non-pagan events in the history of our family, race, or nation.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.