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.