Spirit of the Real Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to gorge ourselves, enjoy family and watch football . Right?  Not exactly.  I mean I’m all for gorging yourself and watching football.  But if that’s all you do this Thanksgiving you will miss the point.

Do you really know what thanksgiving is all about?  Have you ever heard the real story?  How the pilgrims sailed from Holland on the Mayflower. Did you know the ship was only 90 feet long and 30 feet wide and that it took two months on terrible seas? Did you know that there were 102 people crowded aboard and that for most of the journey they were forced to stay below in the tween decks, with a four foot ceiling?

You know they landed on Plymouth. Did you know that it was the winter of 1620-21 one of the harshest ever recorded?  They arrived December 21 too late to prepare. Did you know that in that first winter 52 of the original 102 died? Mothers, children, brothers, husbands.

Did you know how hopeless their situation was until Squanto arrived?

We all remember from our kindergarten days learning about Squanto and how he showed them how to plant corn and catch fish. But do you know the real story behind this extraordinary coincidence? Squanto is a case study in God’s sovereignty. He was kidnapped from his tribe, carried to England where he was taught English. He came back to America and was kidnapped again. This time they tried to sell him as a slave in Spain. Spanish Monks rescued him and taught him Christianity. Squanto eventually returned to America but found that his entire village had died of a plague. Within a year the pilgrims show up needing an interpreter and someone who understands their world view.

Think about it. What are the odds of a Native American walking out of the forest that speaks English, understands Christianity, and has no people with which to live?  Squanto single handedly saved the pilgrims.

The following September the crop came in. Not bountiful. But enough. William Bradford called for a feast to celebrate and remember.

The original Thanksgiving was probably held in October. The pilgrims set aside a time to come before the Lord in solemn thanks for his provision.

We can’t even touch what that must have been like. Picture yourself losing at least one family member and most of your friends the previous year and you will only begin to understand the spirit of that event.

It wasn’t about the food, it was all about GOD! Job said, “Yet though he slays me, still I will hope in him.”(Job 13:15)

That’s the spirit of the real Thanksgiving.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Ed justice says:

    Brother Bill,

    Just want to let you know we look forward to your emails every morning. Since Elsie became sick, we are both home bound. And unable to get to church or Sunday school.

    Our day begins with your message and ends each night with the Lord’s Prayer. And usually we have several friends and family join us for our evening prayer. It is especially powerful when our grandchildren are here to pray with her. My emotions usually get the best of me then and I turn into a waterworks plant.

    But we are thankful for you



    1. Bill Dye says:

      Ed, I am so glad to be a part of your mornings. Prayers for you and Elsie and your family.


  2. Missy McKenzie says:

    Bro. Bill,
    I was forwarded this article by a member of a married couples faith group that we belong to at JGS and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed reading it! I’m actually the Communications Director here at JGS Church and have marked this as a “favorite” so that hopefully I’ll remember to pass it on to our school teachers next year when they start talking about Thanksgiving with the kiddos.
    God Bless You,
    Missy McKenzie


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