Thanksgiving 2010

One hundred and two immigrants arrived in the United States after a frightening and perilous journey.  They were barely able to find shelter before winter. And over the next year every one had to work very hard just to keep marginally warm and fed. They spent time gaining the trust of their neighbors, learning to hunt, fish, and plant to get sufficient provisions to last them over the next winter. Over the course of that first year over half their number died.

In October of 1621 the 49 who were left gathered with 90 indigenous neighbors for a three day feast. They gave thanks to God for the bounteous feast, and gave thanks to their neighbors who has helped them learn how to survive in this climate. A bit different from the more temperate winters at the mouth of the Hudson River (their original destination). In the midst of sickness, death, adversity, unplanned change and unexpected friendship they were grateful and thankful.

Someone observing our modern celebration might get a very different impression. It seems to be celebrated by excess. Or, as a friend referred to it, the 3 Fs (Food Family and Football.)

What they gave thanks for we would probably see as hardship and deprivation. Yet this is the root of our Thanksgiving holiday. Giving thanks to God and celebrating what we have rather than concentrating on what we do not have or what we have lost.

Let us take time for gratitude. Take time to give thanks to God for what we have; and for who we have in our lives. For the faith community that journeys with us. And God who loves, upholds and supports us. In the spirit of the Gospel let us offer some of what we have to be used to be Good News for others.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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