Express Deep Appreciation for this Thanksgiving

pilgrims express deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving
We invite you to pause and consider examples of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. Today our nation comprises many different peoples united in a common purpose and enjoying the rights boldly stated in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Auspiciously, our Thanksgiving dinner tables provide abundance that will feed our bodies. Similarly, consider how this nation feeds and supports our deepest values: freedom of worship and conscience; freedom to gather and speak; freedom to assembly; freedom to travel; freedom to pursue happiness in your way, and so much more. Lastly, we express deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving, for Gods’ blessings, and for Squanto’s example of mutual support. Alike in our appreciation, we are more similar than different.

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As we gather in our homes, we want to express our deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving.  Andy Andrews wrote, “Too many times I have offered up the prayers of a beggar – always asking for more and forgetting to give thanks.  I do not wish to be seen as a greedy child, unappreciative and disrespectful.  My God has bestowed on me many blessings, and for these I will remember to give thanks.  I am grateful for sight, breath, and sound.  If in my life there is a pouring out of blessing beyond that, I will be grateful for the miracle of abundance.” [1] Accordingly, we should express deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving, to be thankful for, this season, despite what some may opine.

We express deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving for the help that Squanto and other natives provided to the Pilgrims

We express deep appreciation this Thanksgiving for those who set an example of mutual support and celebration which made today’s Thanksgiving possible.  Unfortunately, in 1621 only 53 pilgrims of the original 102 lived to join in this traditional harvest thanksgiving. those surviving immigrants owed their lives to the Wampanoag tribe and in particular Squanto and Samoset.  Squanto was a tribesman kidnapped by earlier settlers who sent him to England[2].  However, he had every reason to mistrust or even hate these Pilgrims. Instead, he worked with Chief Massasoit’s charge and Samoset to use their native abilities and English skills to save the Pilgrims. Meanwhile, the tribesman had their own conflicts.    

A brief accounting of Squanto, a native who helped the Pilgrims survive

Squanto was kidnapped by the English captain Thomas Hunt in 1614 CE to be sold into slavery but either escaped or won his freedom in Spain and traveled to England where he learned English and worked as interpreter and shipbuilder. He returned to North America as interpreter on a trade mission and traveled with one Thomas Dermer back to his home village near present-day Cape Cod only to find his tribe had been wiped out by disease (probably smallpox) brought by European traders.

In 1621 CE, he [Squanto] was introduced to the settlers at Plymouth (who had founded their colony at the site of his old seasonal village) by the Abenaki chief Samoset (also known as Somerset, l.c. 1590-1653 CE) who also spoke English. Squanto quickly became indispensable to the colonists and, recognizing his own power, he secretly worked to undermine the authority of Massasoit and empower himself. Once discovered, Massasoit demanded he be turned over for execution, but Bradford refused, a decision which endangered the treaty between the Wampanoag Confederacy and Plymouth Colony if Massasoit had insisted or tried to take Squanto by force. “[3]

We express deep appreciating this Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims were able to compromise and work together to survive

The Pilgrims, and those traveling with them, left us something else of value: the Mayflower Compact[4]. See the full text below. They essentially agreed that they would: 

  • remain loyal subjects to King James, the “dread Sovereign”, despite their need for self-governance
  • create and enact “laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices…” and abide by those laws
  • create one society and work together to further it, and
  • live in accordance with the their faith

Agreement Between the Settlers at New Plymouth: 1620

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.


IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620. [4]

We invite you to pause and consider examples of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags. Today our nation comprises many different peoples united in a common purpose and enjoying the rights boldly stated in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Auspiciously, our Thanksgiving dinner tables provide abundance that will feed our bodies. Similarly, consider how this nation feeds and supports your deepest values: freedom of worship and conscience; freedom to gather and speak; freedom to assembly; freedom to travel; freedom to pursue happiness in your way, and so much more. Lastly, we express deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving, for Gods’ blessings, and for Squanto’s example of mutual support. Alike in our appreciation, we are more similar than different.

We hope the almighty of your choice bestows blessings on you and your family, today and always. To those without religion, we offer our best wishes. Express deep appreciation for this Thanksgiving, for sight, for sound, and the abundance in which you live and prosper in the U.S.A.

References
[1] Andy Andrews, The Traveler’s Gift, Thomas Nelson Publishing; 1st edition (April 6, 2012), 240 pp.

[2] Squanto. https://www.worldhistory.org/Squanto/

[3] ibid

[4] The Mayflower Compact https://themayflowersociety.org/history/the-mayflower-compact/

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