Thanks to God for my
Amazing answer to the Pilgrims' prayers -- Recorded by their
leader, William Bradford
Thanks to God
Chronology: Pilgrims, Persecution and
Thanksgiving - Oswald Chambers
to an Unknown "God"? From Truth to Mysticism
Whom do we
by George Washington:
Banned: Free Thanksgiving Meals for the Poor
Our response to God's Greatness
The First Thanksgiving
"On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts,
held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good
fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unanimous
vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June
29 as a day of thanksgiving. That proclamation is reproduced here
in the same language and spelling as the original.
"While the proclamation quoted on this page is the oldest extant
thanksgiving proclamation, the thanksgiving being announced was
by no means the first thanksgiving. The Plymouth Thanksgiving traditionally
regarded as the first thanksgiving took place in 1621, the fall
after the Mayflower pilgrims arrived."
& Plymouth Colony:
"With the situation growing more intense the [Puritan 'Separatists']
realized they could not stay, yet they were not allowed to go. The
English people were more or less prisoners in their own land and
not allowed to go abroad without special permission from the King's
Privy Council.... As a result of the impossible situation, [William]
Bradford tells us the Separatists were forced 'to seek secret means
of conveyance, and to bribe and fee mariners, and give extraordinary
rates for their passages. And yet were they often times betrayed,
many of them; and both they and their goods intercepted and surprised,
and thereby put to great trouble and charge..."
Thanks to God:
this stormy time of social transformation, no change impacts
this nation more profoundly than its shifting views of God. And
those views -- Christian or not --shape our beliefs, our doubts,
our assumptions, our prayers, our relationships and our giving
of thanks. So to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving, we
might begin with two questions: Who is God? Why is He worthy of
El Shaddai, the Lord
The real meaning of Thanksgiving: "The Pilgrims
came to America for one reason – to form a separate community in
which they could worship God as they saw fit. They had fled England
because King James I was persecuting those who did not recognize
the Church of England's absolute civil and spiritual authority.
On the two-month journey of 1620, William Bradford and the other
elders wrote an extraordinary charter – the Mayflower Compact. Why
was it extraordinary? Because it established just and equal laws
for all members of their new community – believers and non-believers
alike. Where did they get such revolutionary ideas? From the Bible,
"But it wasn't just an economic
system that allowed the Pilgrims to prosper. It was their devotion
to God and His laws. And that's what Thanksgiving is really all
about. The Pilgrims recognized that everything we have is a gift
from God – even our sorrows. Their Thanksgiving tradition was established
to honor God and thank Him for His blessings and His grace."
2 Cor. 2:14
A Very Christian
"The First Thanksgiving is one of those heartwarming stories that
every child used to know, and some up-to-date teachers take special
delight in suppressing. Many teachers approach children nowadays
with the absurd presumption that they are triumphalist little bigots
who must be taken down a notch and made to grasp that their country
has made mistakes. In fact they are little ignoramuses who leave
high school believing that their country has made nothing but mistakes,
and they never do learn what revisionist history is a revision of.
"It is especially sad when children don't learn the history of Thanksgiving,
which is that rarest of anomalies -- a religious festival celebrated
by many faiths. The story of the first Thanksgiving would inspire
and soothe this nation if only we would let it....
"Many Americans are afraid that fundamentalists are inherently intolerant
and want to stamp out all religions but their own. Yet that first
thanksgiving was celebrated by radical Christian fundamentalists,
and American Indians were honored guests--as every child used to
#20: Pilgrims in a Strange Land
"When King James assumed the throne of England in 1603, he was determined
to assert to the fullest his authority over the government and the
Church of England. He opposed those who wanted to reform the Church
of England and bring its teachings and practices more in line with
the Bible. In a fit of rage at these people, the Puritans, King
James vowed, 'I shall make them conform or I will harry them out
of the land, or else do worse.'...
group of Puritans, the Separatists, were not willing to support
the Church of England in any way. They believed the Church could
only be under the headship of Christ, not the queen or king....
that in England they were not free to worship God as their consciences
demanded, they resolved to move as a group to Holland. ... in Holland
they had to learn new jobs, and even the children were worn down
by hard work. Seeing all these evils coming upon them, these Englishmen
in a strange land considered moving to America."
In England, non-conformity was illegal
and separatists were persecuted. Could America be headed in the
same direction? Yes!
Pilgrims: A story of faith, courage and providence:
"Whatever the king believed, the kingdom had to believe. That was
the situation in Europe in the 1600s, when James I was not only
the king of England and the commander of the military, but was also
the head of the Anglican Church. Because some in church leadership
were there for political power, there arose a movement to purify
the Anglican Church, resulting in the nickname 'Puritans.'
"The Puritans were loyal to the Anglican Church,
as compared with the 'Separatists,' who considered it tainted beyond
repair. The Separatists risked breaking the law to meet in secret
and hold prayer meetings. Their ministers were often arrested for
preaching without a license, their members' homes and farms seized,
and some even branded on their face to mark them as heretics.
"In 1607, after years of persecution, the Separatists
fled to Holland where they could have some degree of religious freedom.
Even though they didn't know the language, they struggled to build
a community there, but met with limited success. Governor Bradford
recorded [in 16th century English]:
"'Being thus constrained to leave their native soyle and countrie, their lands and livings, and all their friends
and famillier acquantance … to goe into a countrie they knew not
... where they must learne a new language, and get their livings
they knew not how ... and subject to the miseries of war, it was
by many thought an adventure almost desperate, a case intolerable,
and a miserie worse than death.'
"...In July of 1620, they departed from
Leyden, Holland, to Southampton, England, and from there to America.
Little did they know that of the 103 Pilgrims who departed, only
51 would survive the first winter."
In the midst of intense suffering, God's faithful ones saw wonderful
signs of His love.
Read the rest,
President Bush: Thanksgiving Proclamation:
"In thankfulness and humility,
we acknowledge, especially now, our dependence on One greater than
ourselves.... May Almighty God, who is our refuge and our strength
in this time of trouble, watch over our
protect us, and grant us patience, resolve, and wisdom in all that
is to come. I encourage Americans to assemble in their homes, places
of worship, or community centers to reinforce ties of family
and community, express our profound thanks for the many blessings
we enjoy, and reach out in true gratitude and friendship to our
friends around the world."
Thanks to God.
You may want to do a search
on this website for "community" - the center for dialogue in the
envisioned collective society. Or go to
The Habitat II Agenda
and click on "community
and solidarity. Notice quotes by former head of UNESCO
("redefine words" and write
a new "social contract")
leader, Dean James Morton.
landing in America, the Pilgrims conducted a prayer service, then
quickly turned to building shelters. Starvation and sickness during
the ensuing New England winter killed almost half their population,
but through prayer and hard work, with the assistance of their Indian
friends, the Pilgrims reaped a rich harvest in the summer of 1621."
strength and Christian heritage stem from Pilgrims
"The first American literary classic is history 'Of Plymouth Plantation'
written by William Bradford in 1647. It is a history of the little
band of English settlers called 'Separatists' in England. We call
was only a boy in Scruby, England, when their group formed a house
church. Their motto was, 'Reform now without tarrying for any.'
They respected what they learned from the Bible and wished to follow
the dictates of their conscience, free of external oppression.
Such politically incorrect views earned them persecution from
both the state church and the unchurched alike. It was under
such pressure that part of their little congregation sailed for
Virginia in 1620."
Thanks to God
Pilgrims understood the real source
"One public-school textbook claims the name refers to the Pilgrims
giving thanks to the Indians -- revisionism in the service of secularism.
[But]...The first Thanksgiving, celebrated in October 1621, praised
God for bringing the Pilgrims through an awful winter, when half
their company perished. It also observed the commandment to the
Children of Israel to perform a service of thanksgiving, after they
entered the Promised Land...."
"In 1789, George Washington proclaimed the first national day of
thanks. Our infant republic had survived the snows of Valley Forge
to triumph over the greatest empire on earth -- reason enough to
give thanks, the father of our country thought. Abraham Lincoln
made Thanksgiving a holiday, by a proclamation issued on Oct. 3,
1863. This came three months to the day after the Civil War's pivotal
battle, when the republic once again was saved, seemingly by Divine
"In his 1993 book "The Clash of Civilizations,"
Samuel Huntington identifies the characteristics common to a civilization
(language, customs, etc.). However, Huntington writes, "religion
is the central defining characteristic of civilizations." Every
civilization is connected with a faith -- Christianity (originally,
Western Civilization was Christendom), Orthodoxy, Islam, Hinduism
To please secular and inter-faith
"consumers," many churches are now embracing traditions from such
links show how God's truth and history are being rewritten,
re-imagined and redefined in churches as well as schools:
A Review Of
Pilgrims and Puritans:
"Most contemporary treatments of these Protestant sects
capitalize on this state of ignorance by characterizing them as
harsh, legalistic disciplinarians having little compassion and
finding even less enjoyment in life. But even though many of us
would find aspects of the Puritan outlook a little too stern for
even our conservative sensibilities, these pious pioneers were
hardly the proverbial sticks in the mud depicted by leftwing
academics and popular entertainment.
moral intensity characterizing the Puritan approach to life was
the result of a sincere desire to serve God and seek His will for
their lives. As such, these devout Christians did not shun life’s
wholesome pleasures as often thought; after all, the first Thanksgiving
celebration lasted for three days."
(This quote gives
some insight into today's media and classroom mockery of the Biblical
values that inspired the Pilgrims): "Thanksgiving
may be the one day a year when the Puritans, those early American
settlers who came to the new world seeking 'purity' in worship,
actually get a break. We get a terrific feast, and probably forgo
consciously knocking our Pilgrim forefathers (and mothers), a branch
of the Puritans, for at least the time it takes to get down some
turkey and stuffing. But the rest of the year watch out. We're constantly
reminded, in the words of H.L Mencken, that 'Puritanism is the
haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.' This year
added a new twist to the old theme, as
even the oppressive
Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been referred to by major news
media outlets as 'puritan' or having 'puritanical' elements."
many other blessings, we thank God for the Internet which joins
His people together around the world -- and offers a friendly
The Mainstream Media.
"Secular culture has elevated human intellect, reason, technology,
and wisdom to the top of the pyramid. Meanwhile God, the Bible,
truth, and salvation are dismissed as superstitious, unsophisticated
foolishness. The modern church has even adopted the same mindset
— biblical truth and the simple gospel of the Bible are outdated,
irrelevant, and offensive to so-called enlightened ministries."
or Human Foolishness
"Once considered the cradle of American democracy, Plymouth is slowly
but surely being transformed into a city ashamed of its past....
If you find yourself standing in front of Plymouth Rock this Thanksgiving
Day, do not expect to hear stories of pious Pilgrims in search of
religious freedom. Before you go, prepare your children and family
for a slightly different vision of America's past.
"If you walk fewer than a hundred yards from Plymouth Rock and ascend
to Cole's Hill, the magnificent burial ground of the 50 Pilgrims
who perished during the first cold winter of 1620, you not only
will encounter hundreds of demonstrators who gather on the last
Thursday of every November to disabuse the memory of the Pilgrim
fathers; but you also can read the new monument plaque that describes
the devastating effect of Christianity on North America, the 'genocide'
of Native Americans by the Pilgrims and the importance of treating
Thanksgiving as a 'National Day of Mourning.'"
God's Warnings for
Students Free to Thank Anybody, Except God:
"Young students... read stories about the Pilgrims and Native
Americans, simulate Mayflower voyages, hold mock feasts and
learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very
different groups. But
what teachers don't
mention when they describe
the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native
Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but
repeatedly thanked God.
"'We teach about Thanksgiving from a purely historical perspective,
not from a religious perspective,' said Charles Ridgell.' ...
the Web site Plimoth.org... the Pilgrims 'fell upon their knees
and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast
and furious ocean.'"
Primary sources for the "First Thanksgiving"
"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, among
other recreations, we exercised our arms, 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 upon 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
(Dec. 11, 1621, A Journal
of the Pilgrims at Plymouth)
Thankful Christian Martyrs saw death as their entry to heavenly
"Their crime? They were Christians
who refused to compromise or recant. They would rather die than deny their
faith and betray the Lord they loved!
The seven men
and five women were brought before the Roman proconsul Saturninus in Carthage,
North Africa (Tunisia) on July 17, 180AD. He gave them an opportunity to
recant: "'You can win the indulgence of our lord the Emperor, if you return
to a sound mind."
Speratus, the apparent
leader of the small group of faithful disciples, answered, 'We have never
done ill, we have not lent ourselves to wrong, we have never spoken ill,
but when ill-treated we have given thanks..."
"We, too, are religious,"
answered the proconsul, "and our religion is simple, and we swear by the
genius of our lord the Emperor, and pray for his welfare, as you also ought
"The empire of this world I know not," explained Speratus,
"but rather I serve that God, whom no man has seen, nor with these eyes
can see. I have committed no theft; but if I have bought anything, I pay
the tax; because I know my Lord, the King of kings...."
"...the Lord sent them
such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather, as,
through His blessing, caused a fruitful & liberal harvest, to their
no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy they also set
apart a day of thanksgiving."
Preparing for Victory