The Story of Thanksgiving Day

Crossing the Atlantic, most of the 102 passengers aboard the tiny Mayflower suffered severely from sea sickness. As they finally sighted Cape Cod on November 9, 1620 with only one death among them, they fell to their knees and thanked God who brought them “over the fast and furious ocean … and a sea of troubles.”

The storm-tossed waters prevented them from sailing south to the Virginian colony, their intended destination. Yet they believed God in his wisdom had directed them to the place  they must now prepare from scratch to make it, for winter was already upon them. Having arrived with little food, they sent out scouting parties who found baskets of grain and a good place farther north where hey could build a permanent community.

They struggled through that first winter with inadequate clothing and blankets, hardly seven of them well at one time. By the end of March, half had died of pneumonia. Yet not one among the living boarded the Mayflower for the return trip to England that Spring.

Squanto arrived and made his home with them. An Indian who spoke English, he taught those city folk how to plant corn, fish the river, and hunt turkey and deer in he forest. He also helped them forge a lasting peace with Indians living in the area.

By Fall, the grateful band of devout Christians recovered their health and had enough food to see them through the coming winter. Inviting their Indian friends to join them, they held a three-day feast to thank God for his goodness–a practice they continued year after year. Eventually, some of their descendants settled elsewhere, taking with them their annual thanksgiving-to-God feast.

Then in 1863, President Lincoln declared the occasion a national holiday. But it all began with a small group of Christians who made it a habit to thank God no matter what.

Did they face danger, illness, lack, or loss? They thanked God. Were they blessed with safety, unexpected help, a new home, enough food? They thanked God. These people chose to obey God’s Word about giving thanks.

Focus: “In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:18, The Living Bible.

How about you? For what are you especially thankful to God this year?

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Story of Thanksgiving Day

  1. HAPPY THANKS LIVING
    © 2005 by Lois A. Wiederhoeft

    The pilgrims faced fears They shed many tears They shared a rough year,
    but knew God saw them through. remembering to give
    HIM thanks too.

    We can still thank God HE’s always present when we are facing fears.
    We can still thank God that HE hears our prayers as He sees us shed tears.
    We can still thank God For HIS many blessings, received from HIM this year.
    We know He saw us through Remember to thank HIM too.
    -00-

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sue. Not many people realize that those early Christian settlers in the new World and the Indians near them became friends and truly thanked God together. Or how the practice of setting aside a day or so to thank God for his goodness at harvest time began and spread through the nation. I found that information interesting, too.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s