A Legacy of Blessings
One of the more remarkable events signaling Devine favor on the Pilgrims occurred near the end of their first winter in the new land. A native by the name of Samoset came walking boldly into their town and called out “Welcome” to them in perfect English. After the Pilgrims regained some composure they answered with a welcome of their own, to which Samoset asked if they had any beer? They had none but offered a bit of brandy which he accepted gratefully along with a hearty meal.
Samoset was a chief visiting from the north in what is today Maine. He introduced the Pilgrims to another American Indian named Squanto who spoke better English than he did. Squanto was a member of the tribe which formerly inhabited the region where the Pilgrims had settled. They were a warring tribe and had here-to-fore killed every European who had set foot on their lands. But four years previously a plague of unknown origin had broken out among the tribe leaving not one living soul in the region. This was so mysterious to the neighboring tribes that they had avoided the area totally expecting that some evil spirits were there. Squanto was the only remaining member of this tribe and he had only recently returned from England after an absence of many years. In his sojourn to England he had learned not only the English language but many of the English ways.
Squanto was certainly a godsend and helped the Pilgrims in so many ways including when and where to catch the fish, how to plant the gardens, make syrup from the tree sap and hunt the abundant game for food and for beaver pelts which became their economic salvation.
In the course of their first winter the Pilgrims had lost forty six of the one hundred and two souls who had come to the New World on the Mayflower. One of my ancestors on my mom’s side, Peter Browne, was one of those fortunate enough to make it through the first winter and establish a family in the new land. I consider the resilience of these Pilgrims remarkable. It seems that their perseverance allowed them to remain and receive the favor that came through the assistance of Squanto and the other natives. This of course led to the first Thanksgiving feast with prayer and thanksgiving to God for His providence to them. While they had other days separated for prayer and thanksgiving in the coming years one of the most notable happened in 1623 when a time of prayer and fasting was called due to a horrible drought. This was changed into a time of thanksgiving when rain came during their prayer. It was a soft rain which soaked the ground and was very good for the crops. The natives also had done rain dances and had received rain in torrents which destroyed their crops. The difference did not go unnoticed by either of these groups of people.
We are so fortunate to have such a godly heritage. It was with this in mind that George Washington used the example for the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation after independence from Great Britain. Washington wanted to emphasize our Godly history as well as provide a reminder of Divine Providence which they had also witnessed in the national struggle for independence. While we are embroiled in struggles of our own in our generation so far they pale in comparison to the sacrifices that our for bearers underwent. While we may yet be required to make greater sacrifices than we have heretofore experienced, we have the same God watching over us today that they had then. We have a godly heritage of calling upon Him in time of need and witnessing His deliverance. While we are in need of His deliverance, we also have so much to be grateful for. In fact praising God for all He has done, and for His promises of what he will do when His people humble themselves are a few of the things I have been thinking about. I pray that this Thanksgiving will be the most wonderful one that you and your family have ever experienced as you allow the Great God access to all you do by thanking Him for all He has already done.
2 Cor 9:10-11 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
© Lloyd C. Phillips, PhD The Fellow Laborers’ International Network (FLInt Net)