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Pilgrims and Thanksgiving

The Mayflower

On November 11, 1620, after 66 days at sea, in a space no larger than a volleyball court, 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower finally reached America. They put ashore at Cape Cod.

Winter was approaching. Inclement weather and lack of boats made it difficult to unload the ship. They had to, somehow, and with that, start building some shelter.

Within three months, by February, being infected by scurvy and other diseases, half had died. Scarcely 50 remained and of those, only 6 or 7 were able to tend to the desperate needs of the community: fetch wood, make fires, hunt for meat and dress it, wash their filthy clothes, all of this done willingly without complaint, showing their true love unto their friends and brethren. A rare example of Christian love worthy to be remembered.

On March 16 an Indian came to camp. He spoke in broken English and told them of another Indian named Squanto who could speak better English. It was Squanto who helped them plant their first corn and teach them how to grow it and tend for it.

Beside teaching them about corn, Squanto also taught them to stalk deer, plant pumpkins, find berries, and catch beaver, whose pelts proved to be their economic deliverance.

He was also instrumental in helping the Pilgrims secure a peace treaty with surrounding Indian tribes, which lasted over fifty years. And the Indians even taught them how to make popcorn!

Although many people today follow the Pilgrim’s example of feasting at Thanksgiving, the reason the Pilgrims set aside a special day was to thank Almighty God and acknowledge their utter dependence upon Him for their existence.

Out of this small beginning greater things have been produced. Indeed, God prepared them to be a light of liberty to an entire nation.

Let’s take a moment to remember and thank God for all our blessings and, in the process, help someone in need.


Gino and Boni Federici

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