Pilgrims

Making Thanksgiving Real (Part 2)

Embarkation of the Pilgrims - Robert Walter Weir (1857)

Read Part 1.

In our quest to make Thanksgiving real, we left off by thinking about ways to ground our Thanksgiving in Scripture, following the example of the very Pilgrims who left this treasure as a heritage to our entire nation. The next challenge I would offer is to ground our Thanksgiving in history—primarily the history of these same Pilgrims.

Our American Thanksgiving dates back to the fall of 1621. Indeed, it represents a Christian ideal—a very Biblical ideal. Yet, it is also a remembrance of God’s providential working at the dawn of our country.

Recently, after I spoke to a church group about the Pilgrims, the pastor stood up and shared from his heart how much he believes this message to be desperately needed today, especially by our young people—and yet how little is known of it. He said that telling the Pilgrims’ story to many of our youth would be like speaking to them in a foreign language.

The account of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving is so incredible that if one were hearing it for the first time, he might believe it to be a fiction novel—a work of fantasy.

Do you know the history of the Pilgrims? Have you taught it to your family? This would be a wonderful time to read a book or article, or watch a video, on the Pilgrims. You might even consider making a little knowledge of the Pilgrims mandatory for anyone who wants to partake of the turkey at your bountiful Thanksgiving table!

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400 Years of Gratitude

The Mayflower Compact 1620 - Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

While we are not certain of the exact date, we do know that this year marks the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth.1

In the fall of 1621, “the 53 surviving Pilgrims and Chief Massasoit with his 90 Indian braves”2 (of the Wampanoag Tribe) came together to mark the bounty of their harvest and to give praise to God for graciously preserving them and providing for them.

Pilgrim Edward Winslow—signer of the Mayflower Compact, three-time governor of Plymouth, the author of five books, and a most interesting man in his own right—shared the most detailed historical account of that blessed assembly in a work commonly referred to as Mourt’s Relation. In it, he revealed the following details:

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