It’s coming up to my favorite time of the year: Thanksgiving!
Of all the American Holidays, this is my favorite (hands down). I love its history and I love its celebration. I certainly respect that there are other holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, intended to celebrate Christ, they have also been more thoroughly commercialized and blended with pagan customs.
But for whatever reason, Thanksgiving remains my absolute favorite!
You can find the historical background on Thanksgiving at History.com.
THANKSGIVING AT PLYMOUTH
The history here is, really, a great time in America’s era. I suggest reading about it at the link above, but will simply suffice it to say that Thanksgiving was born out of severe trial and sincere gratitude!
When the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers in September 1620, it set out on a 66 day journey to the tip of Cape Cod (far from their intended destination). The winter was so severe, and their supplies so depleted, that only about half of the 102 person ensemble survived the first winter.
With the help of an Abenaki Indian and Squanto, a Pawtuxet Indian that had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery, but later escaped, they learned how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers, and avoid poisonous plants.
The first thanksgiving, celebrated in November of 1621, was a celebration of God’s great grace upon these pilgrims! Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited their Indian friends to join them! Though they would not have had pies, cakes, or other deserts because their sugar supply had been depleted, they might have had corn, fowling and deer!
A HARVEST CELEBRATION
Following tremendous trial, and great pain, the pilgrims rejoiced because they received the grace of the Lord and a bountiful harvest. The winter was severe, and the labor hard, but so the reward was great and life brought forward.
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Although not everyone today understands the concept of a harvest, it is what we are celebrating on this holiday. The harvest brings forth the bounty of your labor- “you do not reap where you have not sown“.
For many, the harvest means nothing because they have not labored in it themselves, and so, they are stealing the fruit of others labors: a cheap and worthless bounty that does not satisfy.
By now, I suppose, it has become evident my meaning.
If I could, I would hope to spur my fellow brethren on to work in the harvest, because there are very few who are so doing. Labor and work and rejoice in the fruits of your hand!
May you know your Thanksgiving and relish it with the same compassion that was in Jesus Christ, our Lord! Amen!