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Post  Admin on Tue 09 Nov 2010, 7:20 pm

used with permission.

In the month of NOVEMBER people celebrate "Thanksgiving" by
gathering around a table with family and friends to feast upon
turkey and all the trimmings. But, is eating turkey what "Thanksgiving" is all about?
Just what is "Thanksgiving" anyway?

The Bible tells us in Colossians 3:15 that we need to be thankful
always. One might ask: "Be thankful for what? For pain and
suffering? For lack of employment? Look at the mess this country is
in! What should I be thankful for?!" Why should I be thankful?
Friends, God never promised us a bed of roses. All He promised us is
that when troubles come our way, He will be right there with us, to
help us through. The Bible says He is with us in Jeremiah 42:11, and also in Haggai 1:13, but the verse that really tells us that He is there right beside us in whatever our trial, is found in Matthew 28:20 which states:
"Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the world". That's
the assurance we have. He is with us always and always is forever.
Another verse of assurance is found in Colossians 2:5: "For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the Spirit."

That really tells it all. Even though we can't physically see him in
the flesh or even touch him, He is right there with us. Coming to
Christ and accepting Him as Lord and Savior doesn't mean all our
problems go away. As long as there is sin in the world, there will
always be problems.

One scripture tells us in Ephesians 5:20 - "Giving thanks always for
all things unto God and the Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus
Christ." We need to be thankful for the goodness and mercy of God. He IS a merciful God. He knows when we are in pain and He is there to help
us through and to comfort us. As earthly parents we don't like to
see our own children in pain or in trouble. We want to help them, if
we can. Then how much more the heavenly Father is pained when He
sees we are in trouble and hurting?
The Bible says in I Thessalonians 5:18 - "In everything give thanks,
for this is the will of God."

We should always be thankful to the Lord. So then if we are to be
thankful always and in everything give thanks, why then do we set
aside only one day of the year to be thankful? Good question, isn't
it? Now that we have established that we should be ever thankful to the Lord, why then does the world only stop to celebrate and be thankful on Thanksgiving once every year? It's because they don't really have the love of God in their hearts. We all sit down once a year on Thanksgiving with our family and friends to a table spread with turkey and all the trimmings and thank the Lord for our blessings, but ever wonder where the origin of Thanksgiving actually came from and how the tradition started? The origin of our present day tradition of "Thanksgiving" has a very humble beginning. It is an annual National Holiday here in the United States because it was first held here, though other countries, such as Canada, have also adopted it.

We all know the story of the "First Thanksgiving" held in Plymouth,
Massachusetts, and how the Indians and the pilgrims gathered
together to share a big turkey feast in celebration of the harvest
coming in, but let's take a closer look.

1492 - Let's start at when Christopher Columbus had crossed the
ocean in 1492 and made the discovery that history records of what we
now call the United States of America, our beloved country. Europe
had known that the land was there for the taking. Other explorers,
such as Pedro Alvares Cabral, Amerigo Vespucci, and Ponce de Leon
also had set out to search out the world and discover.

1606 - It was later in 1606 that King James I of England gave a
single charter (Charter meaning: an official document granting
certain rights, powers, or privileges to a specific person or
group), to two groups. One group centered in Plymouth, England, was
known as the "Plymouth Company". The other, centered in London, was
known as the "London Company". This charter was important as it
promised all people who served either company in the English
colonies (the word "Colony" means a settlement or territory created
by a group of people who have left their own native land to live
elsewhere, but still live under the "control" of their mother
country) that they would retain their rights and privileges as
English subjects.

1607 - The people of Europe set out in large ships for the new
world. The English came first, landing in Virginia. There were 100
people who came over, but only 40 survived after the cruel, cold,
harsh winter.

1620 - the English came over and began to settle New England. The
Pilgrims who arrived on the "Mayflower" in 1620 coming ashore at
Plymouth Massachusetts knew almost nothing about living off the
land. There were plenty of fish in the sea, but they had no nets to
catch them. There were countless rabbits, but they didn't know how
to snare them and again, they had no nets. They had brought seeds
over from England, but it took a long time to clear the land. Had it
not been for the friendly native Indians who came along and helped
them out they all would have starved and died.

The First American Thanksgiving was celebrated one year after the
landing of the Puritan Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. When the Pilgrims
had landed in November 1620, it was not where they had originally
intended to land, for the storms had pushed them of course. Those
early settlers were headed toward a grant of land that was granted
them by "The London Company" just south of the Hudson River, but
they got lost and reached New England instead.

Once there they wrote and signed what is called the "Mayflower
Compact". This was done right on board the ship. In this compact
they promised submission and obedience to the laws that they
themselves would pass. It was not a plan of government and it did
not pledge a democratic way of life. Nonetheless, that short
document marked an important step along the road to self-government
in the New World for those early settlers.

After landing near the tip of Cape Cod (Massachusetts) , the Puritan
Pilgrims looked for a place to settle themselves. It took more than
a month until they finally selected a place on the southwestern
shore of what is now Cape Cod Bay in New England.
The winter was hard for those early settlers. Those who could work
toiled through the cold, winter months. Many were sick and half died
before Spring arrived. The bitter winter months and inadequate food
diet took its toll. None of the survivors, however, wanted to go
back to England when the "Mayflower" once again set sail to go back
to England in April. They preferred to try and make it in the New
World no matter how hard it was even if it meant facing death,
rather than go back home to England a failure.

Those who were still alive might not have survived if it not been
for the friendly Native America Indians. The friendly Indians taught
the pilgrims how to survive.

SQUANTO, one of the friendly and perhaps best known American Native
Indian, showed the pilgrims how to farm and introduced them to some
agricultural tips. He showed them how to best make use of the soil
to produce food for them. He showed them how to grow pumpkins,
squash, beans, and Indian corn. They were amazed as the corn sprung
up tall and high.

Squanto had showed them that by fertilizing the hills with fish,
after the corn was planted it would yield a better crop. The herring
was buried and planted in each mound used as fertilizer. As the
herring decomposed, it nourished the growing plant. The only problem
with the herring was that it attracted crows and wolves. One history
book tells that every school child knew of Squanto's advice of
fertilizing each hillock where corn was planted with fish. He taught
the Pilgrims to trap the herring. The Indian name for "Corn"
means "our life". The Indians taught them how to grow and cultivate
the corn. It was used in many ways. It could be roasted, boiled with
milk to make pudding, or ground into flour to make bread. It was
easy to dry and preserve for a long time.

As they learned to grow corn the colonists also learned something
else. They learned another practice of the Indians, how to grow
beans and squash amid the corn. The beans and squash climbed up the
cornstalks as they grew. This made it possible to raise a lot of
food within a small area. After the corn, beans and squash were
harvested, it came to the table together in a mixture that is still
known by its Indian name: "Succotash".
(source: The Colonial Cookbook - Lucille Reicht Penner, 1976).

Squanto taught them where to take fish after they had caught it.
The soil was good and would yield good crops. The Indians taught
those early settlers how to use the resources that were in the
forest, the sea, and the soil.

Before long, the white settlers and other natives in the area became
very close. In short, without the help and advice of the Native
American Indians who told them which crops would grow best and which
would not; how to do the planting for a better crop, and how best to
fish in the waters, none of the Pilgrims would have survived the
long, cold winters. Squanto even helped in the construction of their
homes to protect them from the mean, cold, winter.

A direct quote from "The Gentleman of Elvas, the Lord Inquisitor"
from his Expedition of Hernando de soto, 1541 states:

"The Christians (Pilgrims) stayed three months in Autiamque, enjoying the greatest plenty of maize, beans, walnuts and dried plums

(persimmons) ; also rabbits, which they had never had ingenuity enough to ensnare until the Indians there taught them".

1623 - In 1623 the Dutch came to New York, which they named New
Netherlands after their homeland. When the Scandinavians came over,
the Finns and the Swedes, their made their homes in Delaware.

1681 - In 1681 the English Quakers came and settled in Pennsylvania.
To Pennsylvania also came the Germans. The German word for "German"
is "Deutsch", and so their neighbors thought they were calling
themselves "Dutch". Today, some of them are still kown as
the "Pennsyulvania Dutch", which in reality, is actually the
Pennsylvania Germans.

The first groups of pioneers landed in a wilderness. The wealth of
food they found there astonished and delighted them. There were Game
animals in abundance, such as the deer, the moose, elk, bear,
rabbits and squirrels.

The great salt Atlantic yielded an abundance of fish. There were
soft-shelled clams, plump oysters, cod, salmon, mackerel. There were
fresh-water fish, too. The streams and rivers were thick with them.
There was also the swans and the ducks that glided on the lakes. The
skies were filled with flocks of geese or pigeons. The Lord really
provided for them. It is said that the pigeons were so numerous that
the sky was dark when a huge flock of them flew across. When they
settled in trees to roost, whole branches of the trees snapped off
under the weight of them.

Growing in abundance was also the wild mulberries, cherries, melons,
grapes, walnuts, not to mention the vegetables that were unknown in
Europe such as kidney beans, lima beans, red and green peppers,
pumpkins, corn, squash, and sweet potatoes. And the coloniss found
that many of the seeds they brought over form Europe when set in
American earth provided rich harvets of vegetables they were already
familiar with, including the cabbage, peas, spinach, lettuc,
parnsips and herbs.
(source: The Colonial Cookbook - Lucille Reicht Penner, 1976).

Lewis and Clark, explorers collected seeds and plants, such as wild
currants, gooseberries and persimmon; these were later planted at
Jefferson's home in Monticello.

"Thanksgiving" was originally intended as a celebration of the
harvest and other blessings of the past year for the early pilgrims.

The Dutch and French had come earlier and had settled in
Pennsylvania and New York, and not Massachusetts.

1621 - In the autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims sat down to celebrate
their first year in the New World. It is believed by some
researchers that there were between 30 and 50 pilgrims at the
celebration and nearly 100 indians. Massachusetts Bay governor
William Bradford invited neighboring Indians along with Chief
Massasoit and his braves, to join the Pilgrims for a three-day
festival of recreation and feasting in gratitude for the bounty of
the season.

These religious Puritan new settlers of America would have been
utterly dismayed had they known of the long and popular history
of "harvest festivals" most of which were pagan holidays, and of
which their "Thanksgiving" was the latest. From way back whenever
man had tilled the soil and urged his crops into fruition, he has
paid homage to the heavenly being who had permitted him such good
fortune. The pagans from the second and third centuries held harvest
celebrations usually around the early part of January. Pagan
holidays of the 1 and 6 of January were celeberated. Many of the
pagans paid homage to the "Great Mother" or the "Mother of the
Wheat" for the earth power was essentially believed to be
a "feminine force" (Mary, perhaps?). Still today people refer to
the outside world of nature as "Mother Nature". As Christians, we
should not. It is God's creation. Not a woman's.

Perhaps the pilgrims weren't the first to celebrate "Thanksgiving" .
Perhaps they'd heard the stories of others getting together to feast
and be thankful. History tells us that English fishermen in
Newfoundland held a "Thanksgiving Day" in 1578, and another recorded
history book tells that along the coast of Main in 1607, the Popham
colony set aside a day for giving "thanks". Nonetheless, our present
day Thanksgiving tradition is attributed to the early pilgrim
settlers and gets its direct origin from the Pilgrim Fathers of
Plymouth, Massachusetts who celebrated that First Thanksgiving in

It is truly amazing how the early American Puritan settlers of 1620
would not celeberate Christmas, but yet celebrated a feast which is
now called "Thanksgiving" . How they agreed to even join in on a
celebration is amazing, since Christmas did not exist for the early
colonists. Those Puritans hated celebrations believing them to
be "of the devil", unlike the Dutch early settlers who believed in
and celebrated Christmas. These religious Puritan settlers loathed
holiday celebrations without basis found in the Bible. It seems
that "Christmas" or "Christ's Mass" was a holy day in the Catholic
church calendar, and Saint Nicholas's gift-giving and observance of
the day itself were detestable and idolatrous to those Puritans. And
yet, they held a "Thanksgiving" celebration. That seems a little
hypocritical. Perhaps it was because Christmas was associated with
the Catholic Church that they objected. According to the Puritans
there were three things wrong with this holiday. One: It was tainted
with Popish influences; Two, it perpetuated pagan ideas and
practices, and Three, it had been condoned even encouraged by the
Church of England and the British monarchs, two prime targets of
Puritan wrath at that time.

A log (journal) written by Thomas Jones, master of the Mayflower,
(the boat on which they came over on), dated December 25, 1620
"At anchor in Plymouth harbor, Christmas Day, but not observed
by these colonists, they being opposed to all saints' days,
etc....A large party went ashore this morning to fell timber and
begin building. They began to erect the first house about twenty feet
square for their common use, to receive them and their goods".

"But not observed by these colonists" said it all right there.

When those early Puritan settlers chose exile from England rather
than persecution for their religious beliefs, they escaped to
Holland. This was in 1608, twelve years before they set sail for the
New World. However, life for them in Holland was hard. They were
farmers, but couldn't make it in textile, metal and other trades
that were made available to them. They weren't prepared to learn the
dutch language. Their future was grim. They found fault with the
doctrines of the Dutch Reformed Church, the popular religion of the
Dutch. Their religious and financial problems finally drove them to
the decision that they had to leave Holland and find another place
to inhabit and where they could worship God in freedom. And so,
determined to settle some place where they would have a better life,
they set sail, and ended up in what is now our United States of
America. Those early Puritan settlers fulfilled that portion of scripture that states in Psalms 95:2 - "Let us come before His Presence with thanksgiving. ...".
They were thankful to the One True God for their blessings that
year, for the harvesting of the crops, for their survival and they
did give thanks. This land was founded by Christians who learned to
trust God. That was the very basis of coming to the New World. They
wanted to be free to worship God in their own way without
interference from Holland, England or the Queen of England.
1623 - By 1623 the harvest was rich so that the first earlier years
of hunger were nearly forgotten. Four years later, settlers bought
out the London capitalists for 1,800 pounds to be paid in nine
installments, and freed themselves of financial control from

1624 - In New Amsterdam in 1624 the Dutch colony struggled for a
permanent place, while the Swedes attempted to establish themselves
on the shores of Delaware Bay.

1628 - Later in 1628 there were several communities planted along
the shores of Massachusetts Bay for the Puritans who were governed
by John Endecott, governor at that time.

How did the tradition of turkeys come in? Since wild turkeys were
found in North America and were plentiful, it was a good choice that
they be made the main course. This Thanksgiving celebration feast
was the very first Thanksgiving and the tradition has lasted all
these years. Pity we only celebrate it for one day. Rumor has it
that the pilgrims celebrated for 3 days.

1659 - They celebrated Thanksgiving, yet, the Puritans wouldn't
celebrate Christmas. Later these Puritans of the American colonies
declared Christmas "illegal" in 1659 and passed this law:
"Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas and the like, either by forbearing labor, feasting, or nay other way upon such account as aforesaid, every such person so offending shall pay for each offense five shillings as a fine to the country".

Perhaps the reason they did this was because of what happened in
Anglican England. A move to "purify" the Church of England under the
Stuarts (who believed in the divine right of kings) in 1649 beheaded
Charles I and the Puritan Oliver Cromwell became the "protector" of
the commonwealth. The Puritan-controlled Parliament then passed
legislation forbidding church services and civic festivities on
Christmas Day and ordered that the feast of Christmas be abandoned
under pain of punishment.

In many cities December 24 came to be marked by town criers going
about shouting, "No Christmas! No Saint Nicholas!" to warn the
people because of it. How the people of England stood this kind of
dominance is beyond comprehension. Perhaps that is one of the
reasons why the Puritans left England to come to the New World. They
wanted religious freedom. They didn't believe in Christmas, it was
just some of the laws they objected to.

These early Puritan American settlers in the new world were very
opposed to Christmas, yet, they "celebrated" Thanksgiving. It is
ironic, however, that the following year even though they had passed
a law stating that Christmas was illegal, since their odds of
survival had greatly improved, they feasted and rejoiced in the camp
of one of the Indian chieftain Powhatan's sons. Captain John Smith
wrote in his diary that his hardy group was:

"never more merrie, nor fedd on more plentie of good oysters, fish, flesh, wild foule and good bread; nor never had better fires in England than in the warm smokie houses."

Turkey has become the traditional main entree Thanksgiving food. On
the menu at that first Thanksgiving probably were also the squash,
and the pumpkins that they grew, and probably the cranberries which
grew wild in the New England. The pilgrims had learned how to grow
and cook corn, so that probably was on the menu, too. This was the
very first "Thanksgiving" . The pilgrims stopped to give thanks to
the Lord for bringing them through. It says in Daniel 2:23 - "I
thank Thee and praise Thee O Thou God of my father....."

1789 - As we head in to the next century, we see that the very first
presidential holiday proclamation ever made was done by the first
president of the United States, George Washington, who proclaimed
the November 26, 1789 date as a day of "public thanksgiving and

1862 - But it was actually the next century, in 1863, almost the end
of the nineteen century, when President Abraham Lincoln officially
proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. The traditional feast of turkey and pumpkin pie has since become a part of this holiday. Canada also adopted Thanksgiving as a national holiday in November of 1879 and it is now celebrated annually on the second Monday in October.

Those early Christian settlers must have been very thankful just to
be alive. Let us as Christians, children of the Most High, take time
from our busy schedules to offer thanksgiving up to God. Let us not
wait for our traditional holiday to do that. We need to communicate
with God every day of our lives. God is always there waiting to hear
from us; every day of the year. Happy Thanksgiving!
COPYRIGHT©2004Theres a Q. Pavone,A.TH, B.TH

Romans 8:28 "For all things work together for good to them that love the Lord" KJV

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me". KJV

Last edited by Admin on Thu 31 Jan 2013, 11:35 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : edited to make as sticky)

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