Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The History of Thanks...

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 I've loved history as long as I remember.  Especially early American history.  As I began preparing my home and little ones for the big upcoming holiday, I took some time to quiet my heart and let the blessing of the first Thanksgiving seep into my soul.  Each year, the message hits me afresh.  I'd love to share some of my favorite tidbits with you guys this week, in hopes that it blesses you too.  (Also, please excuse the use of stock photos.  I never do that, but I was feeling especially lazy today!)
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 Most of us know the basic story of the first Thanksgiving.  I have vivid memories of being taught by use of flannel graphs depicting semi-fierce Indians with bushels of corn over their shoulders, and smiling Pilgrims holding platters of browned turkeys, pie, and cornucopias filled to bursting with fruit.

Of course, what we seldom think about, as we bustle about the house lighting pumpkin spice candles, scattering acorns and leaves on every window sill, and trying to calculate how long it will take a 20 lb turkey to thaw, is that these people we honor when we celebrate. sacrificed everything they knew so that each one of us could worship God freely.

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 Though that's the bigger chunk of the story, I love some of the smaller details, easily forgotten each year and possibly eclipsed by turkeys and stuffing.  The Pilgrims originally set out in two small ships, but one of them, The Speedwell, sprung a leak not once but twice, causing countless delays before they ever began.

I often think, that just because I feel God might be leading me, (or my family) a certain direction, that this must surely mean smooth sailing ahead... and yet when I read the entire story of the faithful Pilgrims, I can see that as months passed and they got nowhere, God was still directing their path, using those difficulties for a purpose.

As the Pilgrims traveled, one man couldn't take being cooped up any longer and went on deck during rough seas.  He was swept overboard, into the icy Atlantic.  He instinctively reached up, and there just so happened to be a rope hanging over the edge of the ship... which also just so happened to be within reaching distance of his hand.  He was saved.  I find myself reading that account with tears in my eyes, as I often get so tired of life, or a current situation, get myself into trouble with wrong thoughts, bad attitudes, or negative actions, but because of God's faithfulness, there's always a life-saving rope within reaching distance.  Doesn't that encourage you too?
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The Pilgrims did die in alarming numbers, but God's provision remained ever faithful through those hardships.  In fact, my favorite anecdote of the entire Thanksgiving story, is where they landed.  They had veered off course, about sixty miles North of where they had intended to land.  But they trusted in God's providence, leading them where they should go.  After many months, they made friends with an Indian named Samoset, chief of the Algonquin tribe.  As he ate and drank with them, he conversed easily in English, having had experience with English fishermen in the past.  He told the Pilgrims, that there had been a very fierce tribe called the Patuxets, who had lived on the land the Pilgrims were now beginning to settle.  They had killed every white man who had ever come to their territory, but about four years before the Pilgrims had shown up, the Patuxets had all died from a mysterious plague.  Because of this, all the other neighboring tribes had avoided the area, fearing the plague themselves, leaving a parcel of land free for the Pilgrims.  God provided, long before they ever had need.  Gosh I love that. 

You see, the story has never been about Indians, corn, Pilgrims, and turkey.  Not really... It's always been about being thankful for what God provides...what He has always provided.. and what He will always provide.

That's something to give thanks about. 


linda t said...

I needed to hear this story.
Thank you so much for sharing such profound truth.
God has provided. God is providing. God will provide.
Somewhere along the way I let my fears take over and I stopped believing that God has already provided all I will ever need.
Thank you Lord. And thank YOU.

Alicia said...

so so good, sasha. and i am a history lover too. we're studying the american revolution this year and i am SO excited to be able to take the kids to williamsburg and jamestown this year.
but you're right...bottom line, the feast was for God's glory. what a blessed holiday to celebrate!

Leslie said...

Thank you for sharing! I KNOW that God provides but I do need reminders :) God is so good and when I look back and during in my life right now, it always amazes me how He is and always has been there for me!

Annie said...

My kids took part in a Thanksgiving program this last week. I learned that out of the 18 mothers that came to America, by spring only 4 were still alive. Because so many mothers died, the first Thanksgiving was cooked in large part by the girls. As a mom, that was so touching to me, knowing how moms sacrifice for their children and in this case it cost so many mothers their lives. But, given the opportunity to return to England, no one did. We still benefit from their sacrifice and for that I am truly thankful!

A Thrifted Market said...

Thank you for sharing this story! I thank God he always provides even when I forget to be thankful!! Truly blessed.

Farmgirl Paints said...

well amen to that. God's provision and plan worked out BEFORE they even got there. LOVE THIS!

mamabear said...

I needed to hear this today, as well. When friends I know start to worry about their circumstances, I'm always the first to remind them that God provides, but sometimes I forget to believe that myself. Thank you for the reminder.

Kerri said...

I appreciate your beautiful words. God provides and for this I am grateful. I have been taking the time to teach a Thanksgiving Prayer to my students. It is a short prayer and each line starts with "Thank you God". A great reminder of why we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Mrs.B said...

Needed this...going to read it again when I have more time.