Thanksgiving Mourning

As I write this, I realize that November is the penultimate month on the calendar. It marks the period of time between Halloween and Christmas that we usually associate with Thanksgiving. Sadly Thanksgiving is often overshadowed by it’s far more popular neighbor, Black Friday! Every year I think we mourn the loss of Thanksgiving and try to resurrect its charms: hymns of thanksgiving, reminders of the Pilgrim’s plight and so on. But as our culture continues to slide into secularity, notions of thanking an Almighty God for our blessings seem to fall by the wayside as quaint notions of yesterday. On this point, may I laud the elementary schools for at least dressing up the kids as pilgrims and Indians and telling the story of the Thanksgiving Feast.

I’ve been to Plymouth, Massachusetts. I’ve seen the Plymouth Rock with the date of 1620 etched upon it. I’ve also seen the massive monument to the dead. Atop the hill, up from the landing site, there is a monument upon which the names of those who first landed are written. Not all of them, for not all died, but most of them. That first winter when William Bradford and the others landed, they didn’t know how to survive in the cold Massachusetts winter. You see the Pilgrims didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving their first year, or their second, but their third, and this thanks to Squanto. It was Squanto, the Indian man who had learned English as a captive and returned to the colonies. He helped them get along with their Indian neighbors and translate for them. Only when they found cooperation with the native Americans did they finally learn how to survive, and even thrive in the New World. That first Thanksgiving marked three days (at least) of celebration, food, and games played between Indians and Puritans, for the harvest of food and fellowship they enjoyed. That was the basis for the first Thanksgiving. It was not until President Lincoln that Thanksgiving was celebrated as a national holiday, and many years later became the Federal Holiday we know it as today.

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I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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