It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is upon us once again. As I get older and life gets busier, it seems that time goes by so quickly. I love the holidays, especially the time from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. It is just a special time of the year. Thanksgiving is obviously that time of the year when we stop and thank the Lord for His goodness and provisions over this past year.
It is was just three years after the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock that Governor William Bradford made the first Thanksgiving proclamation. The brief history of the Pilgrims to that point found them fleeing the religious persecution of Europe until finally making the 4,000 mile journey across the Atlantic Ocean in search of religious freedom and a new life. It was a dangerous and tragic journey for many as disease and death ravaged many of them while on the ship. When they finally arrived, they faced the hardship and struggle of adapting to the new environment by building homes for basic shelter and learning to farm, fish, and hunt for food. Death and disease continued as they struggled to settle and build their new life.
It was with this background of struggle and eventual blessing from the Lord that led William Bradford to make the following proclamation:
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indiancorn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the foreststo abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence anddisease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our ownconscience. Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and yelittle ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 inthe day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousandsix hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on yePilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
There is much that I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. One thing that I am certainly thankful for is the history and foundation upon which this first holiday was founded. Regardless of our situation…hardships…blessings, or otherwise…it is certain that none of them were as tough as the ones these Puritan Pilgrims faced nearly four hundred years ago.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, so be thankful! My plan is post some things regarding Biblical Thanksgiving this week. May all of us thank the Lord for His great goodness and grace over this past year!