“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever… Let them praise the LORD for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.” Psalm 107:1,31 (NLT)
In his hard-hitting book, “Censorship: Evidence of Bias in Our Children’s Textbooks,” Paul Vitz recounts the story of young mother who was shocked one day when her Son came home from school and shared what he had learned. Apparently, his teacher taught the students that Thanksgiving was when the Pilgrims gave thanks to the Indians. Being a Christian woman who firmly believed in the holy day, she called the Principle to enlighten him. She was even more confused when the Principle told her that the American origin of giving thanks to God was only her opinion and that teachers could only teach what is in the books they are given. So much for scholarship!
The real story goes all the way back to 1621 when Puritans (pilgrims) who had fled Europe in fear of being killed for their religious beliefs miraculously survived the rough new England winter with the unexpected help of Native Americans including the famous Christian, Squanto – or does it????
While our modern day Thanksgiving is certainly well rooted in this special event, it was not, in reality, the first American Thanksgiving. All the way back in 1541 Coronado gathered 1,500 of his men in Palo Duro Canyon, TX to thank God for his mercy, protection and provision. In 1564 French Huguenot Colonists (Protestants) gathered to give their thanks to the God of Heaven in the oldest city in America, St. Augustine, Florida. In 1598 Juan de Oñate and his expedition thanked God for all He had done for them in El Paso, Texas. In 1607 the James Town Virginia Settlers knelt before God on the beach at Cape Henry and in 1619, the Berkley Plantation, in Charles City County, Virginia, hosted a Thank You God celebration.
Yes, here in America we have a very long tradition of giving thanks to God for his wonderful goodness to us. So before you rush out to get in line at Best Buy or trampled at Wal-Mart, let’s give God a little of the thanks He deserves. Regardless of what may have happened to you this year, if you are still vertical and breathing, you have much to be thankful for. Whether you are of European decent, Native American or something else, I encourage you to give thanks to the God of Heaven for all the wonderful things He has done.
Father we are exceedingly grateful for all You do for us. You grant us life and love and have sacrificed your Son so that we might fellowship with You face-to-face. Thank you for our family, friends, jobs and nation. Please continue to bless us as only You can do. In the Name of Your Son Jesus we pray, Amen!