When I looked just outside my door this morning, I saw our yard had a new carpet of pure white. By 8:00 o’clock the sun was shinning brightly and the naked trees had cast long dark shadows across the yard creating a beautiful picture. An hour later the snow had little dimples in it where it had begun to melt. The other side yard looked much the same with the added attraction created as the sunlight enhanced the bright red apples on the trees. The contrast of the white snow and red apples enhanced the picture.
Speaking of apples reminds me that Thanksgiving has arrived and I have pies to make. Not just apple for grandma’s old fashioned pumpkin pies for what would a Thanksgiving dinner be with out it? At least that’s what some of my kids and grandkids think. I’d like to make one using one of the new recipes that I found recently, but that would never do.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and it has always been a time with family and friends together, not just enjoying the great fellowship, but more importantly a day for giving thanks. First of all to God for His love, grace and mercy and sending his son to be the propitiation for mans’ sin thereby providing a way for man’s salvation. Secondly for our family and friends who have helped and blest us over the years. Often we take time before the blessing is said to go around the table and have each one express what they are thankful for. That was the purpose the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in America many years ago.
There is a lot of history and much controversy about the origin of Thanksgiving Day. Some have written that it began as a pagan holiday in various countries. It was a day when the people thanked their gods for a successful harvest. It was held in the fall, and other activities took place too. Sometimes it continued for several days. It is also commonly said that, as time went on, churches began holding a special day for Christians to gather together in autumn and give thanks to God for their many blessings and especially for a successful harvest.
As for the first Thanksgiving Day in the United States, it took place in 1621 when Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day for the Pilgrims to give thanksgiving and prayer to God for their harvest in the new world. Previously they had endured a long difficult trip by boat from England to the new world for the purpose of having freedom of religion. It had been a very hard year for the pilgrims clearing the land, building homes and gardens; they had much to be thankful for. I know that is true because Edward Winslow of Plymouth, Mass., wrote the following letter to England in 1621, describing that celebration. Although the special day was not called Thanksgiving Day it was surely a day of giving thanks.
“Our harvest being gotten in our Governor sente four men out following that so we might after a more special manner, rejoice together after we gathered the fruit of our labors. These four, in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help besides served the company almost a week, at which time amongst other recreations, we exercised our armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us. And they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the Plantation, and bestowed on our Governor and upon our Captaine and others. And although it not be always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are so far from wanted that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1621
A Letter to England
As time went on, several states began to celebrate a Thanksgiving Day. In 1817, New York State adopted a Thanksgiving Day making it an annual custom. President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving and since then each President has made a Thanksgiving Proclamation to be held usually on the last Thursday in November. Later it was changed to the third Thursday of November.