Thanksgiving long ago
Loaded with 102 pilgrims fleeing religious persecution, the Mayflower struggled for 66 days to cross the stormy North Atlantic Ocean. Unable to make it to New York, it landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts on December 11, 1620.
During that first cold winter, 46 pilgrims died. But during the spring of 1621, in an act of true kindness, the Wampanoag Indians taught the pilgrims how to cultivate the land—growing corn, beans, and squash, which helped them survive.
At harvest time the colonists were so grateful for their bountiful crops that Governor William Bradford organized the first Thanksgiving feast, and invited the Wampanoag Indians to join them. With joy and thanksgiving, they expressed their gratitude to God, but they also gave thanks to their native neighbors.
Many years later, in 1789, President George Washington wrote a proclamation, recommending that…
“…a day of public thanksgiving and prayer be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”
Conscious of our treasures
Over the years Thanksgiving Day has lost its original significance. For many people, it has simply become a time when families come together to eat turkey and watch football.
I read a quote by Thornton Wilder that said, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” So I decided to write a list of people I am thankful for…
- My dad for teaching me good theology and how to love life (not always in that order)
- My mom for always telling me I could do anything
- Kathie for loving Jesus more than anyone I’ve ever known
- My kids for letting my God become their God
- Dr. Roy Hicks, Sr. for teaching me about the Holy Spirit
- Ron Mehl for modeling a shepherd’s heart to me
- Jack Hayford for being my hero
- Dr. John Maxwell for being the first to teach me about leadership
- Don Long for being one of the best leaders I’ve ever seen
- Miriam Piper for always making me look better than I deserve
- Stan Carney for his 0’dark-hundred texts to me
- Regen for giving me great hope in the future
My challenge to you is to make a list of people you are thankful for and why. After making this list take some quiet time and reflect on everyone you have listed, then express your gratitude to them. It could be a hand-written note, an email, a text message, or a phone call. Whatever method you choose, make it personal and heartfelt. Let these people know how you feel about them and how special they are to you. They are Thanksgiving treasures!