by Pastor Bob
I was in a Walmart store last week and noticed they were already playing some Christmas songs on their speaker system. They were mixed in with other music, but I’m sure that before Thanksgiving all the songs will be about Christmas. Just a hint that it’s time to start shopping when actually it’s time to start planning for a Thanksgiving that truly expresses our appreciation to the Creator of all the blessings we enjoy. I’ve often wondered if I would have been thankful if I had been among those pilgrims whose feast began our Thanksgiving tradition when, after so many of their small community died during the previous winter. I wonder if I would be thankful if I didn’t have all the comforts we have today, comforts we take for granted like a warm house to live in; being able to go to a nearby grocery store for all the food needed for a scrumptious meal. Even though I won’t be able to spend the day with my children and family I’ll still be able to talk to them on a phone and spend the day with Jolene’s family, getting to know them better.
I’m sure our meal this year will only slightly resemble the one enjoyed by pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621, 500 years ago. An article in Country Living provides us with much insight: “After a harsh winter, the Pilgrims had a banner harvest in 1621 due in large part to the help of Squanto, a Native American of the Patuxet tribe who spoke English after years of being enslaved. Squanto showed them how to plant corn and fish on the land that had once belonged to his own tribe, who had been tragically wiped out by smallpox. Using what they had, along with contributions from the native Wampanoag tribe (Squanto’s Patuxet was a band of this tribe), they celebrated with three days filled with food, military demonstrations, and games.”
“Whether the Pilgrims invited the native Wampanoag tribe to their feast has been debated, but the Indigenous people likely brought deer and guests to the event. The little we know of those three days comes from this diary entry by Edward Winslow, a leader in the colony:
And God be praised we had a good increase… Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it is not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.” Pastor Bob