Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the first Thanksgiving...

"The First Thanksgiving",
painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930).

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in October of 1621 following the Plymouth Colony's first successful harvest. Though many of their number had died that winter, they had much for which to be thankful. And they knew to Whom they owed their gratitude.

"The Pilgrims were brimming over with gratitude--not only to Squanto and the Wampanoags who had been so friendly, but to their God. In Him they had trusted, and He had honored their obedience beyond their dreams. So, Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving."*

There were feasting and games and contests with their Indian friends. Everything went so well that the celebration was extended to three days!

"They had so much for which to thank God: for providing all their needs, even when their faith had not been up to believing that He would do so; for the lives of the departed and for taking them home to be with Him; for their friendship with the Indians...; for all His remarkable providences in bringing them to this place and sustaining them."*

This was the story of the first Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims had come to the new world to pursue religious freedom--the freedom to worship God as He had called them to. They were brave men and women who endured great hardships but counted it all as suffering for the cause of Christ. These were the men and women who first settled our great nation. These were the ones who 'counted the cost' and left behind all they knew to create a nation for the glory of God!

As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, may we truly be thankful--not only for our tangible blessings but also for the freedoms we enjoy as a result of those who came before us. And, like the Pilgrims, may we recognize from Whom these blessings come...

Let us join with the voices across the ages as we give gratitude to God for His amazing providence and His incredible blessings! Thank You, Lord; we are grateful!!
*quotes taken from "The Light and the Glory" by Peter Marshall and David Manuel

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