The Legend of Thanksgiving

I’m not a historian, but I do love stories and legends. And that is why I love the story of the First Thanksgiving! It’s a tale Americans have passed across generations, one that embodies so many American values: hard work, perseverance, and gratitude.

In the year 1621, a group of settlers called the Pilgrims traveled from Europe to the New World, a continent they had never known before, in hopes of creating a community free to worship God apart from the strict rules of their old government. For many arduous months, they journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean, enduring violent storms, sickness, food shortages, and hopelessness. The expedition was so grueling that many did not survive.

When the Pilgrims finally arrived in America, their supplies were almost completely depleted and the settlers were weak and ill. They had no experience in building homes or planting crops, especially in an environment quite different from the one that they had left behind in Europe. Their hopes of building a community in a New World seemed almost impossible when they realized they were unprepared for life in this strange new place.

Fortunately for the Pilgrims, there was a group of native people living nearby. These Native Americans taught the European settlers how to build their homes and plant crops for food. Their friendship saved the lives of the new settlers; they were the answer to all of the Pilgrims’ prayers for God’s help!

At the end of the first harvest, the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans to celebrate all of God’s provision! For three days, the two people groups feasted together, celebrating their partnership and the many blessings they had been given.

Maybe this story feels similar to your own? You also have come to this New World with dreams and expectations. And hopefully there have even been a few Americans who have been able to help you and care for you during your time here.

That is why Thanksgiving is your holiday too!

It is a celebration of community and feasting! Families and friends draw together for a day of eating the best food of the year! We thank God for the the many gifts He has given. Every year–the good years and the bad ones–Americans take time at Thanksgiving to remember that no matter what difficult circumstances we face, there is always a reason to be grateful.

So what are you thankful for this year? Your family? New friendships? An opportunity to study?

Thankfulness is not always easy, especially when we experience hard times, disasters, midterms, and drama. But ancient wisdom and modern thinkers all agree that gratitude is powerful in allowing us to persevere through any hardship.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Cicero

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His loving-kindness lasts forever.” – Hebrew Poem


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