Thanksgiving Traditions vs. Thanking God

ben-eating-roll2.jpgThanksgiving has become my favorite holiday. Yes, commercialization has taken over every holiday, even Thanksgiving. Although I find it’s easier to focus on the meaning of Thanksgiving, because it’s held onto some of its roots. To begin with, it’s traditionally celebrated at home with family and friends.

There are no gifts, baskets of colored eggs, carved pumpkins or elves in green suits to distract from the meaning. Granted, football, parades, and even the turkey dinner get in the way of why we celebrate. (It’s NOT Turkey Day.) Of course, food has always been a feature of Thanksgiving. Although the food was not the primary focus of the celebration. Sharing the Thanksgiving meal is another wonderful Thanksgiving tradition. The Pilgrims invited the Indians to share in their feasting. It’s still not the reason for the day.

Ben is thankful for his many blessings!

Political correctness has blurred the history of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims did NOT throw a lavish feast to thank the Indians. The Indians, who helped them survive their first year in the hostile new land, were invited to the Pilgrim’s feast of thanksgiving to their God.

It was the Pilgrim’s Christian faith which brought them to America. It was the reason they endured many hardships, and for some death. Today America is pluralistic, but it was not an Indian god or a new age god or an eastern god they thanked. The Pilgrims thanked the God of the scriptures. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who sent His Son, Jesus, as a substitution for mankind’s sin. It’s hard to believe the very reason for establishing a new colony in American has been overlooked in an attempt to be politically correct.

There are two primary original sources of information concerning the first Thanksgiving. Edward Winslow and William Bradford each left us a written record. Their words describe the intent and meaning of the first Thanksgiving celebration. Notice that the feast was instigated by the Pilgrims, not the Indians, as some believe.

William Bradford wrote of their arrival to America:
“Being thus arrived in good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean.”

Edward Winslow writes of the intent of the first Thanksgiving:
“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the GOODNESS OF GOD, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

Your family can give thanks this year for God’s blessings. If it has not been your custom to thank God for His blessings, you might want to use Psalm 100 as a template:

Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into God’s presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Forest Feast Cover 240

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