"All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill…
there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings."
November 1623, Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony
“Plymouth Plantation” in Plymouth, Massachusetts
|Remembering the 1st Thanksgiving|
For those of us from the United States, this week is a celebration of Thanksgiving. It’s wonderful to think back to the origin, back to the Pilgrim times, when they endured so much hardship, but still found energy and reason to be thankful.
I am thankful for leaders with wisdom enough to remind us to be thankful: Henry Laurens, President of Continental Congress 1777; President George Washington, National Thanksgiving Proclamation 1795; President Abraham Lincoln, first annual National Day of Thanksgiving 1863, “It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people…” (Catherine Millard "Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day")
I am thankful, also, for a God we can trust to place us right where we need to be, even when we don’t see it. Squanto found that out, over his life, and we are thankful God placed him where he could help the Pilgrims. (Squanto--God's Special Indian a Thanksgiving Story)
Finally, I am thankful for creative artists who are able to get the point of the holiday across to us in a way we understand and remember:
“In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: ‘We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.’” (Linus Van Pelt – From a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving)
Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this?
Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.