Happy Thanksgiving

1CH 16:8 Give thanks to the Lord; call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples.

1Ch 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever.

Since moving to New England, many of my Disneyized-views of the “Pilgrims”, have been put to rest. Dashed against the rocks, is the image of a sea-weary people stepping onto a secure foothold, transitioning them from one leg of a challenging journey to another, with Plymouth Rock labeled a myth.

Going to places like Providence, Cape Cod, and Plimouth Plantation, the images of the wide-rimmed black-hatted grim-faced men and pristine white-apron women have been exchanged, with a modern man’s version of them being more ordinary than extraordinary.

One of the cardinal rules of a purist “living history” museum is the “inhabitants” are bound to the time-period for which they are “representatives”, knowing and speaking nothing of the time period from which their visitors have arrived. We watched as some children tried to discuss television and video games. Cool blank stares were their reward, with an occasional savvy “actor” responding, with a quizzical stroking of the beard, “I know not of what you speak…”.

As an experiment, having studied our own fair share of Pilgrim diaries, we tried to engage them in “religious discussions” of their time. We received the same cool blank stares, the feigned puzzlement turned to agitation with a crisp, “we don’t speak religion here”. Their worldview was showing, for just a few houses away, another “pilgrim” showed us her Geneva Bible, “of which they should find very difficult without its wisdom and wise counsel.”

Thanksgiving Day, as with all other elements of the Puritan/Pilgrim adventure, is being encouraged, by those would love to sterilize America of all things Christian, to die the death of other “myths”.

I appreciate knowing real history, such as those offered by the site Mayflower History, that:

“The tradition of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving is steeped in myth and legend. Few people realize that the Pilgrims did not celebrate Thanksgiving the next year, or any year thereafter, though some of their descendants later made a ‘Forefather’s Day’ that usually occurred on December 21 or 22.”

It has been misleading for Thanksgiving Day to have been promoted as a religious, holy day celebrated by the Pilgrims. Edward Winslow writes, on December 21, 1621:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

If, in fact, the Pilgrims were celebrating Thanksgiving Day as a “religious” event, they wouldn’t have been feasting or playing games. They would have been fasting and praying. And in that fasting and praying, they would have been Giving Thanks.

Phil 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

The world – those with a heart of stone towards Christ – would want to reduce what the Pilgrims represented.

But the world will never understand, that no matter the trials and tribulations of this life, those who know Christ are drawn to give daily thanks for the blessings of His love, His unmerited grace and mercy, and the free gift of faith, as well as repentance – that the very act of praying is empty without laying it before His feet wrapped in thanksgiving.

For when there is heart directed by thankfulness to the Lord, there is a heart that isn’t yearning for something better, more, different. There is a heart content not in things of this earth but in what Christ accomplished and in Who Christ is.

So while the romantic worldview has been forever changed in my flesh mind, my heart takes joy in knowing that my Brothers and Sisters who have gone before me, would have on this day, been giving thanks. So shall I.

-Sharon


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