Thanksgiving is a great time for reflection.
One reflection should be for the first Thanksgiving and what it really meant – not just food and family and football! The Pilgrims were starting in a new world with nothing. They had no one to rely on or anyone to back them . . . that is no one except the Lord.
Here, more than half died that first year. Many of the women sacrificed themselves to cover and warm their children. Disease, scurvy, lack of proper shelter. All these men and women suffered to gain a new foothold for the right of freedom to worship as they wanted desperately to. From their reflections, they knew that many would not enjoy the freedom they were searching for – but that their descendants would.
Fortuitously, by the next year they had made friends with the local Native-American tribes. The tribes agreed to assist them if the Pilgrims would use the “new” invention they had, guns and ammunition, to assist them with enemies. Governor William Bradford had a treaty with Massasoit, tribal chief. This treaty lasted almost 40 years and although tensions rose as immigration increased, both men did their best to uphold this treaty.
The first Thanksgiving was really a Thanksgiving to the Lord for the harvest and better health. Massasoit and his tribe came, some say unexpectedly, but after a first uneasiness, both people enjoyed a four-day feast of fellowship and fun! The natives and men would show off their weapons and skills and the women their cooking. As the feast wore on, Massasoit’s huntsmen went out and brought in several deer to continue feasting.
How many times we do see from the news that this precious “freedom of religion” – the first of the first Amendment of the United States Constitution – that the Pilgrims sacrificed for is being threatened?
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Reflection should also be of not only what we are thankful for here on earth like home, family, car, job; but thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did and has accomplished in our lives.
Looking back, we can see how the Lord works in our lives from good to bad. Sometimes it feels like the Lord has deserted and left us out to dry. However, as much as we feel like Joseph, we have to remember that trials and hardships end up being, “It was meant it for evil but God meant it for good.”
There are many different Thanksgiving verses in the Bible. Here are a few that might help to remember what the day is truly about: people looking for freedom to worship the Lord and were willing to sacrifice anything to get it.
46 For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. 3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
May the Lord give you a truly blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving Season!
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