The beginnings of the first Thanksgiving festival on this continent is attributed to pilgrims coming to North America from Europe in 1620. On November 21st their ship The Mayflower, because of weather, dropped anchor north of their original destination which was New York Harbor. Even though it was a warmer than normal winter that year, it took almost half their population, 45 of the original 102 including 13 of the 18 women having succumbed to depravation and disease. Those that survived the first winter had a favorable growing season and a bountiful harvest, more than enough to sustain them through the next winter. After the harvest the migrants invited the natives of the area, the Wampanoags, (People of the First Light) to their celebration. The Wampanoag tribes had been decimated by an epidemic or combination of epidemics brought over by the Europeans from 1616 - 1620. They had no natural resistance to these diseases. Populations of the tribe went from an estimated 20,000 to about 4,000. The first Thanksgiving was also the cementing of an alliance between the much weakened Wampanoag and the almost pitiful Pilgrims. Most of us today haven't been taught the good will expressed between these two peoples at this low time for them both had deteriorated to all out war within one generation as the immigrants' population increased and expanded aggressively with little or no regard to the native populations.
Check this out. The Pilgrims land in the New World in November 1620. In March 1621 the Wampanoag high chief Massasoit entered into talks with the Puritans, accompanied by a band of warriors and Squanto (a Wampanoag that had been kidnapped years earlier and sold into slavery in Great Britain. He had returned to his homeland prior to the Pilgrims arrival with a knowledge of the English language and culture.) Squanto was the translator for these first meetings which brought forth a peace treaty which lasted until Massosoit's death. Part of the procedures included Massosoit signing "... an alliance which gave the English permission to take about 12,000 acres of land for Plymouth Plantation. However, it is very doubtful that Massasoit understood the differences between land ownership in the European sense, compared with the native people's manner of using the land. At the time, this was not particularly significant, because so many of Massosoit's people had died that their traditional lands were significantly depopulated. Furthermore, it was impossible for the Wamapanoag to suspect that the few English - people who had barely lived through the winter - could ever be a danger to them." - TheWampanoag.com Near the end of Massosoit's life bad treatment by the European immigrants encroaching on tribal lands led his son, Metacomet, aka to the English as "King Phillip", to build a confederacy of tribes to drive the colonists out. Metacomet was defeated and killed along with other leading chiefs and the Wampanoag and the Narragansett were almost exterminated. Some survivors fled to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's vineyard to join up with those that remained neutral during the war, some fled inland. Disease all but wiped out those on Nantucket. Thus the beginnings of the end of the Native North American peoples' freedom. Some Wampanoag remain today with a congregation on Martha's Vineyard.
"Thanksgiving is celebrated at the expense of Native Peoples who had to give up
their lands and culture for America to become what it is today."
- Linda Coombs, Aquinnah Wampanoag, 1997 -
Funny how history is written... or maybe better yet, how history is remembered... and forgotten.. by the victors.
Regardless of what has, what is or what will happen in the world, thankfulness is certainly a quality of life to live by. Why? Because God's Word say's so! And it's good for ya too! Well... if you don't want to be caught on the many treadmills of life that are out there, expending maximum effort without getting anywhere. It also helps to guide one's priorities when experiencing gain. And for a lot of us struggling in this economic mess the world's thrown at us, thankfulness helps you to focus on the Truth that God is your sufficiency. It is one aspect of a mature believer to rise to the level of Solomon's prayer in Proverbs 30:7-9: Two things have I required of thee; Deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee and say, "Who is the Lord?" Your need will be supplied as you bring forth that Word of His that you have built into your heart in your daily life. Not just once a year when the turkey population takes a noise dive! Or when us life long Detroit Lions fans find ourselves hoping the Lions play a respectable game on the national stage! Which is right back to where I am after that string of losses. I tell ya... It hadn't been easy on an ol' boy's heart being a Lions fan!
It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed each November would hold a national Thanksgiving Day.
Anyways... Colossians 2:6 & 7 reads As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him; Rooted and built up in Him; and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. First off you must realize to whom the book of Colossians is written to. Chapter 1 verse 2 tells us that this instruction is written "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ..." addressed to those standing faithful on God's Word "which are at Colosse." Yes this epistle, or letter is addressed to a specific group at a specific time but it crosses across time in that it is indeed addressed to "saints and faithful brethren in Christ." Saints are not as most think of them, namely a few select (dead at that) to pray to for specific results in specific situations. A saint is actually one who has been sanctified. Spiritual sanctification comes to those that become born again of holy spirit... a gift from God to the individual doing that which is necessary to receive it. In the period of time available to do so. It is this gift and an accurate knowledge of the Scriptures that enables the recipient to "see" spiritual Truth. Among other things! Sanctification is one of the five sonship rights one receives becoming a child of The Almighty. If you are born again that means you! Sanctify is to set apart. To have spiritual sanctification is to be set apart from this world. We are set apart from the world in that we have partaken of the divine which is the gift given. We have in fact become a human/spiritual being. Which places us in the household of God becoming sons and daughters of God via the spirit, His seed... created in you at the moment of reception. We are set apart in that we have His spirit and we live obedient to Him as loving children to a father. The faithful brethren are those groups born again into God's family... brothers and sisters in Christ living life according to the Scriptures perfectly... right?! NO!!! It doesn't say that! It says, "...stablished in the faith". FAITHFUL! The only way one can be made steadfast in the family faith is to live it, walk it. To... "Walk The Word" so to say. Yeah we're gonna screw up at times. What's new?! The faithful sanctified ones correct the mistakes they make according to the Truth of God's Word and move on. This is how one lives sanctification. To keep adjusting one's thinking towards Truth, which will be manifested in how you live your life in this world. The faithful are those that have proven themselves. Proof they have not only tasted of Truth but are getting a steady diet of it the evidence shown in their lives by how they raise themselves up to the calling of their Father. By how they "walk ye in Him". This instruction is not addressed to those newly brought into the Household but to those "veterans"... so to say. The point is, in this epistle addressed to the faithful, the disciple is instructed to be "abounding (have an abundance) therin with thanksgiving." The faithful saints are to have an abundance in the giving of thanks that we have received His gift of holy spirit and we have a knowledge of the Truth and that we are living our lives by them both!
So... if God exhorts those that have practiced and proven His Word in their daily lives (which is what "walk ye in Him" means) to not just have an attitude of thanksgiving but to have it in abundance as we move in this life... don't'cha think that's a noteworthy goal for the novice to the Truth to have?! It sure can't hurt! Good even for the unbeliever in that... doesn't it just seem?... The closet thing to joy and peace are those moments when you are truly thankful?
One more thing before I go slide a turkey in the oven. I find it pretty cool that many references in the giving of thanks is how the leadership of the time of what is considered the first century church offers for fellow believers. Thankfulness for God's chosen. After all... after it's all said and done? All we'll have is each other! And in God's realm! In which we will be enabled to more fully perceive then. And for that... I am thankful!
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