Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Five Kernels.

I'm wrapping up this thanksgiving hosting series today, and I hope you have enjoyed it. I wanted to end by sharing this tradition my family has.  Five kernels of corn are placed onto each plate before the meal, and once everyone is seated, I read the story below, aloud.  We then go around the table afterward, sharing about something that we had struggled with or found difficult over the past year, but how God had been faithful to us.  It's so much more meaningful than everyone saying what they are thankful for, before digging in, and I hope it speaks to you as it does to me..  I assembled the story, after gathering information and bits and pieces of many versions of this story all over the internet, from the past couple years so it's worded how I want it to be, for my family gathering.  Take it and tweak it or use it as is. 

Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you and yours, 

Do you remember the old story about how Squanto the Indian, and his Massasoit tribe helped the Pilgrims grow and gather food in order to survive, in 1620? They worked very hard to begin a new life in the new land, because they knew they could be free to worship God the way they chose. 

The harvest of 1621 was abundant for the Pilgrims.  William Bradord, their governor, had declared a day of thanksgiving for all.  He invited the local Indian chief and was quite surprised when ninety other Indian friends came with him! They all celebrated this first harvest together, with three days of feasting, games and prayers. 

Soon after, a new ship arrived from England, with even more hungry Pilgrims, seeking a new life.  Sadly, they suffered a very severe winter, and many people died from sickness and not enough food to eat.  By the following spring, all of the Pilgrims were starving.  To make matters worse, the harvest in that second year was a tragic failure.  By the springtime of 1623, they were each only allowed to eat five kernels of corn per day so that they would have enough to last until more food could be grown.  But it wasn’t so easy because they suffered drought that whole spring and summer and all of their crops were dried up.  Hungry and desperate, they turned to God in prayer because they knew He was their only hope.  They fasted and prayed for eight hours straight, asking Him to help them.  The next morning, it is said that a gentle rain began to fall on their fields and it continued for nearly two weeks, saving all of their crops. 

That November, they once again gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving but the first course of their meal was a little different.  Each person had an empty plate sitting in front of them, with only five kernels of corn on it.  They did this to remind themselves of the difficulty through which God had sustained them, and that they owed Him their very lives.  Each Pilgrim got to stand and share how God had been faithful to them in difficulty, that previous year.

When a year has been particularly hard, in our workplace, school, life, finances, relationships and circumstances, what then?  Do we still give thanks for God’s faithful love and care? Whether we’re struggling through lean times or enjoying His abundance, we can always trust God’s strength to see us through.

(“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything.  I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Philippians 4:12-13)


  1. Amen. Happy Thanksgiving to your family.

  2. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Happy Thanksgiving Sasha!

  3. I have really enjoyed your Thanksgiving series — and am so glad you’re back to blogging! I feel as if I’ve been seated at the kitchen island, chatting with you while you make your preparations. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sasha!

  4. This is beautiful. So grateful you shared. Thank you! I'm incorporating this into a family dinner the day after Thanksgiving this year with our immediate family; what a gift to practice together being grateful in all things, and finding God's grace and goodness in the midst of all that life brings.