30 November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

The First Thanksgiving

From Edward Winslow's firsthand account of what is considered the first 'Thanksgiving' from 1621:  

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week.

At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, and many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."  (http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/thanksgiving.htm)

When one studies the roots of today's 'Thanksgiving', we often think of the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Rock that is located in Massachusetts.  However, we must not forget what, and who, they were thankful for. As Edward Winslow wrote concerning this first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims were thankful first and foremost for God and His blessings He bestowed on them.  Unfortunately in today's American society, we continue to remove any reference to God, as seen in Christmas and Easter which are both reduced to an 'Elf on the Shelf' and a bunny.

The Pilgrims understood to whom Thanksgiving was due- God.  This small band of Puritans left their homes and sailed into the unknown, yet continued to give thanks after many husbands, wives, and children had died during that first winter.  Today in 21st Century America, we complain when the last item sells out at the store during Black Friday.

I am thankful for...

- A God loved me enough to send a Savior to die in my place for my sins.  The ultimate sacrifice.

- My wife of almost 21 years that continues to amaze me.  The past year, she managed to survive a tiny apartment with three kids while I was away in Texas.
- Three great children.  I pray that God gives me wisdom to set an example for them on how to be men of honor and integrity that the world desperately needs today, and a beautiful daughter that will be a strong and courageous woman who loves the Lord.

- A Mom and Dad who raised me (and my brother) in a Godly home. They instilled in us a lasting Christian Faith that I hope to pass down to my children.

- My wife's parents who raised a Godly daughter that have been a great example to me and our children through the years.  

- Friends and Family.  All the cousins, aunts and uncles that we have been able to see over the past few years since we lived close.  Although we could not make it this year to the annual Thanksgiving Feast, we are blessed with an ever-expanding extended family!

- Opportunities that have come across my path over the years.  Although the past year was difficult by being apart from the family and friends back in Kentucky, I made many new life-long friends in San Antonio during the Army-Baylor program.  I will never forget the times we spent together in both the academic and social settings.

-  Not having to fly back to Texas! The worst part of coming home last year was knowing I had to leave and return to Texas!  Not anymore!

I am truly thankful for the blessings I do not deserve.  As David wrote in his 'Psalm of Thanksgiving', it is not because we deserve anything, but because He is good!

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

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