Thanksgiving used to be the last national family holiday day that was not commercialized. Unfortunately, some merchants are trying to take this day away from us by opening their stores early Thanksgiving morning.
People, especially families, are more important than “things.” Put your energy is making this Thanksgiving a most memorable occasion.
To help us deepen our sense of gratitude, I would like to present the following story by Dr. James Sutton, a child and adolescent psychologist. It’s taken from his book, Windows II: Book for those with a heart for helping kids heal.
“On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in a natural harbor on the inside the northern tip of Cape Cod. There it stayed. The location was not the Pilgrims’ first choice; they had planned to settle near the mouth of the Hudson.
“The area where the ship made landfall had belonged to the Patuxets, a fierce tribe that took intense delight in murdering anyone who would dare invade their territory. A sickness, however, had wiped them out, leaving their land free for the taking. (Other Indians, fearing “bad spirits,” would have no part of it.) The Pilgrims didn’t even have to clear fields for planting. They were already there for them.
“The nearest neighbors were the Wampanoags, a civilized tribe ruled by Massasoit. The chief and his people accepted the Pilgrims and helped them. Squanto, a lone survivor of the Patuxets, made his home with these new inhabitants and taught them how to survive in this new and challenging land.
“Although the bounty of the summer of 1621 brought a time of heartfelt gratitude (the first Thanksgiving), the Pilgrims’ obligation to repay the backers who had financed their voyage left them dangerously close to starvation. Food supplies had all but disappeared.
“At one point, a daily ration of food for a Pilgrim was five kernels of corn. With a simple faith that God would sustain them, no matter what, they pulled through. History records that not a single one of them died of starvation that winter. Not a one!
“The harvest of 1623 brought a surplus of corn, so much that the Pilgrims were able to help the Indians for a change. So joyous were they that they celebrated a second Thanksgiving Day and again invited Massasoit to be their guest.
“He came, bringing with him his wife, several other chiefs and 120 braves. All sat down to a feast of 12 venison, six goats, 50 hogs and pigs, numerous turkeys, vegetables, grapes, nuts, plums, puddings and pies. But, lest anyone forget, all were given their first course on an empty plate. They were each given five kernels of corn.”
The following prayer could be used on Thanksgiving Day.
Dear God, we thank you for this day. You have blessed us in so many ways and you keep blessing us. We thank you for your presence with us. We are blessed because you are a loving, forgiving, and understanding God. Help us to be like you: loving, forgiving, and understanding.
Continue to watch over us and keep us safe from all danger. Help us to deepen our spirit of gratitude. Help us to realize that all life is a gift from you and we should treasure it always. Continue to bless us so we may be a blessing to others. Keep us strong so we may help the weak. Keep us uplifted so we may have words of encouragement for others.
We pray for all our sisters and brothers. We pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that all their needs will be met. Thank you Lord for our family gathering and for the food that we are about to share. In gratitude.
Posted on Fri, November 22, 2013
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd