As we celebrate with our various Thanksgiving traditions, we pause to give thanks to God, our Father for His many blessings. At the Center our focus on Thanksgiving is a celebration of the historical focus of our Country of thanking God for the blessings He has given us as a nation. Never thought of it that way, or thinking there were no Christian background and integration in the early history of our country? Check out the following historical and documented instances of our government acknowledging of the provision of God in the page and links below.
30 Thanksgiving Bible Verses and Scriptures for Expressing Gratitude
What about the "NEW" revisionist history being explored in our culture that makes early pilgrims out to being horrible to the Native Americans. See this commentary on what really happened at Plymouth for a Christian take on this revisionist history that is in reality viewing history from a secularist world view: What Really Happened at Plymouth?
While thankfulness is certainly the message of the day, Thanksgiving is a significant place marker in our nation’s history. Besides the big flat-topped hats (called capotains) worn in the Plymouth Colony, what all do you know about Thanksgiving? 10 Interesting Thanksgiving Facts to Share Around Your Dining Room Table
DO YOU KNOW THE Non Revisionist Historical Reason the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving?
Many Americans will gather with family and friends around a dinner table that will contain a feast that would have been the envy of many kings and princes in ages past. Despite the political, economic, and cultural challenges we face, we are still blessed to live in the United States of America.
The Apostle Paul reminded the Thessalonians of the need to not only rejoice in the midst of challenges, but to be thankful. "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). When I read this passage, I can't help but think of the Pilgrims. In October of 1621, William Bradford, Governor of Plymouth, declared the first official day of Thanksgiving. The public proclamation on behalf of the Pilgrims came as a result of their first bountiful harvest. The Pilgrims were overflowing with gratitude to God because the harvest of 1621 provided more than enough corn to see them through their second winter.
History records that Indian chief Massasoit arrived unexpectedly a day early for the celebration. The Chief brought 90 Indians with him -- causing the Pilgrims to nearly despair, questioning whether or not they could feed that many without dangerously diminishing their winter supply of food. As it turned out, the Indians had arrived early so they could hunt and contribute to the feast. The Indians provided five dressed deer and more than a dozen fat wild turkeys. There was plenty of food which was even more of a reason to give thanks. In fact, that's what they did; they extended the Thanksgiving celebration to three days.
But what were they giving thanks for? Recently I saw where a public school text book told children the Pilgrims were giving thanks to the Indians (not at all surprising in this day and age of revised history). The Pilgrims' journey began in Holland -- not for religious freedom, as is often cited, but for the freedom to build a community on biblical principles for their children. They had left England, where they did not have religious freedom and moved to Holland where they were free to worship as they pleased. But the culture was so corrupt, they made plans to go to the New World.
What was that journey like? One hundred two Pilgrims had been crammed into a space on the Mayflower that was about the size of a volleyball court. Compound that misery with the lack of light and fresh air (all the hatches had to be battened down because of stormy weather) and a limited diet of dried pork, dried peas, and dried fish, and the stench of an "ever fouler bilge" which lasted for 66 days at sea.
They arrived in the fall of 1620 just in time to prepare for winter. During that first winter, nearly half of the 102 pilgrims died -- 47 in all. In February, at the height of winter, they were dying at a rate of two per day. Thirteen out of 18 of the wives died, with only three families remaining unbroken by death that first winter. Yet even still, they were thankful. And they remained thankful even though at times their daily rations consisted of one kernel of corn.
The experiences of the Pilgrims were recorded in the historical work Of Plymouth Plantation, penned by their leader, Governor William Bradford, who said of the Pilgrims, "Last and not least, they cherished a great hope and inward zeal of laying good foundations, or at least making some ways toward it, for the propagation and advance of the gospel of the kingdom of Christ in the remote parts of the world, even though they should be but stepping stones to others in the performance of so great a work."
The Pilgrims had the ability to rejoice and hope even in the midst of death and privation because they knew their lives served a greater, eternal purpose. When we know and follow Jesus Christ, our lives have that same eternal purpose and that alone gives us a reason to rejoice and be thankful.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
* View some Thanksgiving articles from the American Pastors Network
* What the Pilgrims thought about the role of Christianity in Government and life (from Answers in Genesis)
* Wallbuilders has organized a Thanksgiving resource page for Thanksgiving Sermons
* Thanksgiving Proclamations by Presidents: George Washington Abraham Lincoln Grover Cleveland George W. Bush
* The Mayflower Mystique: Remembering the Pilgrims by Dr. Gary Scott Smith
* A Week of Thanksgiving (taken from Bible study tools at Cross Walk) by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
* Focus on the Family: George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation by Bruce Hausknecht, Esq.
* Thanksgiving Proclamation by Congress
* How Will You Mark Thanksgiving? by Dr. L. John Van Til
* Celebrating Thanksgiving in America by David Barton
* Thanksgiving Thoughts from the Family Resource Council
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