Thanksgiving is a holiday proclaimed by Abraham Lincoln and primarily “Americanized” over the years with traditions developing into watching football and stuffing faces with turkey. The pilgrims were Puritan Separatists, a most extreme group of Puritans, whom would have spent time being thankful in prayer and fasting.
The “first thanksgiving” was a meeting between the pilgrims and native Americans to establish a peace treaty and celebrate their newfound community with one another. Although I’m sure they were also very thankful to have built relationships with the Indians, who helped them survive a winter for which they were largely unprepared.
I love Thanksgiving Day but I don’t want to rely on it as the one time of year we read Psalm 100 and list our blessings. These are practices I want to recognize and teach my boys as an everyday thing. Not saying we are always successful, but this is my hope and prayer.
The following is an excerpt from Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, which I’ve been reading to the boys: (Not referring to a Plymouth pilgrim, but ironically, the author, John Bunyan, was imprisoned in England for preaching truth, also in the 1600’s!)
I saw in my dream that by this time Christian and Hopeful had gone through the Enchanted Ground and had come to the land of Beulah. There the air is sweet, and as their way lay through this land, they walked through it slowly. Here they heard the birds sing all day long, and the sun shone day and night. The Valley of Death was far away, and the land was out of the reach of Giant Despair. They could not from this place so much as see Doubting Castle.
I then saw that when they awoke from a good sleep, they wanted to go up to Zion. But the sun threw off such bright rays from the Celestial City, which was built of pure gold, that they could not as yet look on it except through a dark glass.
Although this is not Scripture, descriptive language about how the imagination views Heaven revives hope and brings joy. Joy that reaches even beyond family gatherings and great meals. This post is dedicated to those whom, a holiday such as this, is bringing a fresh wave of the pain in loss along with it. I hope you will be inspired to press on, in faith, by the two kinds of pilgrims mentioned here.
I don’t have time to edit so I hope my thought process makes some kind of sense. Speaking of irony, I’m attempting to make cranberry-apple chutney this morning in honor of finding something edible in England. Grace be with you, my friends.