This past week as I considered the upcoming wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I began to read about the rich history of our brave ancestors who came to the New World. It wasn’t until the 1860’s that Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November to be a national holiday, however, if we go back to the original moment of Thanksgiving history, it reveals that the Pilgrims were facing very trying and difficult times in 1621. Almost half of the pilgrims had been killed the previous winter, and yet, despite their hardships, it was determined that it would be appropriate to gather together in an attitude of gratitude and give thanks.
“Giving thanks, always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” I Thessalonians 5:18
After the hardships of a brutal overseas trip on the Mayflower, things didn’t get much better. The Pilgrims suffered from exposure, scurvy, smallpox, starvation, and being attacked by Indians within 3 days of their arrival. Yet, eventually history reveals that on that first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians gathered for a 3 day celebration. One interesting observation of historians is that the menu wasn’t turkey and dressing, but rather it was more than likely goose, venison, and lobster. We may not know their exact menu or everything that was said and done in those original days of gratitude, but there is one thing for certain – four centuries later we are still celebrating the blessings that God has bestowed upon each of us.
Yes, I realize that things are tough, families are hurting, loved ones have passed, and Covid is still wrecking havoc. But through it all, God has been so good to all of us. Every generation faces their own life challenges and hardships and we will survive ours as well. So this Thursday in America as we devour 280 million turkeys, watch football, and gather with loved ones, may we exclaim collectively that we are truly blessed beyond measure. In everything give thanks!
Happy Thanksgiving 🦃
Pastor Daron Hudspeth