Somewhere in between Halloween and Christmas, sits a little holiday with a big heart! THANKSGIVING!! It’s a holiday that is too often overlooked, but goes back to the very birth of our country.
For many Americans, the Thanksgiving meal includes seasonal dishes such as roast turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Football and family camaraderie often goes hand in hand with the celebration.
The holiday feast dates back to the fall of 1621, when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth for an autumn harvest celebration, an event regarded as America’s “first Thanksgiving.” Squanto, a Wampanoag had befriended and helped the English earlier in the spring, showing them how to plant corn, fish and gather berries and nuts.
Fleeing England because of religious persecution, these Pilgrims were prepared to make tremendous sacrifices for future generations – and the sacrifices proved to be costly. After landing near Plymouth, in December 1620, The beleaguered group resolved to make the best of things and plant their feet in the new world. By the end of their first winter in America, half of the passengers who had sailed to America on the Mayflower were dead. Yet, the Pilgrims persevered and remained faithful to their God. Perhaps for the sake of these committed few, God chose to pour out his blessing on their descendants and their new country. To use the words of Gov. William Bradford, these Pilgrims indeed became the “stepping stones” in the formation of what has become the greatest nation on earth.
Governor Bradford of Massachusetts made this first Thanksgiving Proclamation three years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth:
“Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the daytime, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.”
Ye Governor of Ye Colony
As you enjoy your Thanksgiving, take a few moments to reflect on what the first Thanksgiving must have been like – the hardships and heartbreaks they suffered, but through it all they still gave thanks to God!
Most of us will NEVER experience life as hard as our forefathers did, but we need to set aside time to give thanks to God for all the blessings he has given us.
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”
Colossians 3:15 (KJV)
I hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Be sure to check out another of my articles: This is My Country!
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