Giving Thanks!

by Pastor Jess foglesong


It is the time of the year that people here in the United States gather together and 'Give thanks' to our founding fathers; to the Pilgrims and the local Indians who befriended them; to God  - who created the earth and the universe; and to our friends and families.  And it is a pleasant time of the year: the colors of fall drape the countryside with gold, yellows, browns and reds -- it is a warm, mellow time of the season. 

As we look back to the year 1621 we know that the Pilgrims arrived from England after a harsh journey by sea.  Many did not survive.  About half of the men and wome died at sea. But the rest did make it to the shores at Plymouth Rock and slowly establish and organized a settlement.  But they never-the-less found themselves struggling to gather food and ways to keep warm.

The local people: primitive tribes, later called 'Indians" saw their plight and felt sorry for them and decided to show them how to gather food; and how to hunt and fish.  And the Pilgrims were grateful ... and as time passed decided to celebrate, and invited the friendly indians to a feast -- to give thanks for their generosity and kindness.

And when the day came for the feast, the Chief of the tribe came with his 90 plus braves, bringing a variety of food including sweet potatoes, venison, and of course wild turkey.

An as they all sat around a large fire they chatted, laughed and enjoyed the friendship.  But later the Chief stood up and waved to his brother, instructing him to fetch something.  His brother went into the woods.  This caused the Pilgrims to worry and be concerned.  Until finally the Chief's brother returned with a large bowl filled with something very ineresting.  Something that the Pilgrims had never seen before:  Popcorn!

Yes the indians had discovered that certain types of corn seed after dried and heated, actually popped into a fantastic snack.  The indians not only gave the Pilgrims a way to survive, but also something extra, that came from nature.

There was no animosity between the Pilgrims and the Indians -- only respect and dignity.

God instills respect and dignity in all human beings.  He is the Life Giver!  He decided to create human beings simply because He desired the close relationship.  Life is the ultimate "Gift."  And so at Thanksgiving we gather; people from Main to Hawaii, from Alaska to Florida come together to celebrate that first Thanksgiving.  Remebering the camaraderie between human beings, no matter how different their cultures.  They instinctively knew that they needed each other -- a God given trait. 

And we celebrate Thanksgiving in their honor .... and in God's honor in "giving" Life -- as well as Freedom, Love and Respect.

Enjoy your your day of Thanksgiving!