In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. In March, the settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who taught the Pilgrims, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped them forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.
In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a National Holiday. He said, “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
Personally I belive that Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for the every day blessings we have in our lives. For friends and family, for a warm place to sleep and nice plate of food and specially for the mere miracle of waking up each morining.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Lift a prayer to God and remember that “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but t live by them” – John F. Kennedy.