That First Thanksgiving

It’s Confusing…

First ThanksgivingOne history reports it this way, and another that way and others try to minimize the entire experience.

Imagine those early settlers, perhaps they came due to religious persecution in their homeland, or, maybe not… Were they prepared to survive? Who knows. Whether they struggled with making it through those first seasons, or could only survive because of the local inhabitants, a day came that there was a celebration for the bounty of the harvest and the survival of the year.

It was around 1621, a really long time ago. One source describes it as a time of prayer and fasting, without the scramble to set the best table setting. Another describes the Wampanoag Indians that met them around Plymouth… Quick, where is that?

At the end of prayers and fasting, food is brought forth and both groups share of their bounty.

Think about it. They are facing another winter. While it may be true they eat well, there is probably the feeling of preserving the bounty for the long, dark and cold days!

There was no football celebration, but there may have been some outside activities between the two groups. The Pilgrims probably had nothing in common with the Indians, so they may have learned from each other.

Imagine the cleanup. No dishwasher. No sinks or garbage disposals. No trash pickup. Scavengers from the forest are probably looking for scraps. Precious are the plates and utensils, and, oh yeah, the pots and pans.

Imagine the language barrier. Pantomime. Grunts. Pointing. Exampling. Sounds like many of our table experiences! Culture differences. Where do the forks go? Eat with our hands?

Can you compare that past image with the present? I’m not sure you can. However, it is not necessary to think what you do must be like what they do. Theirs was a unique time period. So is yours. They had limitations. So do you. Not all family was there. Same here.

But what you do have is that feeling of “Whew… We made it!” So, eat that meal. Enjoy that fellowship. Make the most of it.

Best of all? Enjoy the thankfulness you have for what you enjoy.

For all those times that we doubt the call to thankfulness, consider the words of Paul.

  • But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57 NKJV)
  • Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.  (2 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV)
  • Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Ephesians 5:20 NKJV)
  • Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  (Colossians 1:12 NKJV)
  • In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV)

And from the words of Henry David Thoreau

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.