But isn’t Thanksgiving all about turkey, football and family?
Not for those who started it all. For the first settlers on American soil, their Thanksgiving feast was the result of hard won battles against the powers of their time, against two months at sea, raging storms and the ravages of nature, against disease and cold and against their own fears and doubts. It was a victory that came at a price of great personal sacrifice. Their feast of celebration could only happen after a year of steadfast, stubborn faith in God’s leading.
Edward Winslow, one of the 53 pilgrims who had reached the new land on the Mayflower and survived that first horrible winter wrought with death and disease, wrote a letter to the Christian believers back in England about their first meal of thankfulness to God that they shared with the Indians that November. These are his exact words in the old English of 1621:
"our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others. And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plentie."
There was nothing luxurious about that Thanksgiving, nor was it a day of indulgence or selfishness. But one thing they shared was a sense of awe, humility and true thankfulness that the God of the Bible that they believed in had not only spared their lives, but had given them an abundance of blessing through their crops and their friendships with the native Indians. They had fought hard against all odds, believing in a God who kept His word to those who acted by faith - and they saw the results of that faith before their eyes. From that moment on, the group grew in strength and numbers and has evolved into this beautiful land we live in today. Four centuries later, the blessing of God on these simple people of faith continues to spill over onto us.
Now that's a Thanksgiving we all could use!
God is looking for more steadfast, stubborn and radical people to believe that He can take them to a new and better life. As our lives change, we change those around us and those who come after us.
In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, we celebrate the beginning of The 40 Day Project to fight for our own freedom and that of our children. Not through politics but with faith. Not against people, but against the problems that tie us down to a life we no longer want.
Thanksgiving Day, November 25, fittingly launches the first day of our challenge. 40 Days of making incremental changes in our habits, our thought processes, and our faith. We will battle the ravages of all the negativity that bombards us every day, and with a true and stubborn faith in God, we will bring in the New Year as renewed and strengthened people. We will gather together in SiLC for a dedication service to begin the journey that will only end on New Years Eve – exactly 40 days long.
Who's ready to be a pilgrim?