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Last Update:
October 30th, 2006

The Thanksgiving Story

Quoted from the fifth book in The Bennett Vignettes--
The Apple of His Eye

“The Pilgrim fathers, who celebrated the first thanksgiving in America, were fleeing religious persecution in their native England. In 1609, a group of Pilgrims left England for the religious freedom given them in The Netherlands, where for many years they lived and prospered both physically and spiritually. In time, their children were speaking Nederlands and were becoming more and more attached to the Dutch way of life. This greatly concerned the Pilgrims. Though the freedom of religion was what drew them, the Dutch way of life gave liberties that simply were not in keeping with Bible standards, adversely effecting the children’s education and morality.

“The Pilgrim leaders made the difficult decision to leave Holland and travel to the New World. On September sixth, 1620, the Pilgrims set sail for the New World on a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed from Plymouth, England with a group of forty-four Pilgrims, who referred to themselves with the Bible term ‘Saints’, and sixty-six others, whom the Pilgrims likewise dubbed with a Bible term, ‘Strangers’.

“The transatlantic journey aboard the Mayflower was cold and damp, and it took some sixty-five days to accomplish. Since there was an ever-present danger of fire on a wooden ship, the food had to be eaten cold. Many passengers became weak and sickly, and one person had died by the time land was sighted on November tenth.

“The long trip led to many disagreements between the ‘Saints’ and the ‘Strangers’. After land was sighted, a meeting was held; and the first governmental document was drawn up, called the Mayflower Compact. This guaranteed certain rights to all the newcomers, and in doing so it unified the two groups. They joined together and named themselves the ‘Pilgrims’, another Bible term from Hebrews chapter eleven.

“Although they had first sighted land off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the Pilgrims did not choose a settlement until they arrived at Plymouth. This area had been so named by Captain John Smith in 1614. Plymouth offered a first-rate harbor. A large brook offered a resource for fish. But the Pilgrims’ greatest concern was a fear of attack by the local Native Americans, known as the Patuxets. These were a peaceful people, however, and did not prove to be a threat.

“The first winter was devastating for the Pilgrim settlers. The winter storms were exceptionally heavy, impeding the workers’ progress as they attempted to construct their settlement. March brought warmer weather, and the health of the Pilgrims improved; but many had died during the long winter. Of the one hundred and ten Pilgrims and crew who left England, fewer than fifty survived that first winter.

“On March sixteenth of 1621, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out ‘Welcome’ in their native tongue of English. The brave’s name was Samoset, and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast. After staying the night with the Pilgrims, Samoset left the next day. He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto, who it was soon discovered spoke even better English than Samoset. Squanto told the Pilgrims of his travels across the ocean, having visited England and Spain. It was in England that he had learned the English language.

“Squanto’s importance to the Pilgrims was immense. He was without doubt the instrument God used to help the Pilgrims survive in the New World. It was Squanto who taught them how to tap the maple trees for sap. He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal uses. He also taught them agricultural know-how, much of it having to do with growing corn, which quickly became a staple.

“The harvest in October was blessedly successful, and the Pilgrims even had enough food to put away for the winter. There was corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured in smokehouses.

“The Pilgrims had so much to give thanks to God for. He had blessed them with religious freedom, helped them to build homes in the wilderness, blessed their efforts at farming to have raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, blessed them with peace with their Indian neighbors. Yes, it was time to give thanks for the harvest God had so bountifully provided.

“Governor William Bradford proclaimed an official day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans. Squanto and the other Indians were invited to join the Pilgrims in their celebration. The Indian chief, Massasoit, and ninety braves took part in the joyful observance, which lasted for three days that first year and more than likely took place in mid-October.

“In the following years, the harvests were varying; but on that third year in the New World, November twenty-ninth was proclaimed an official day of thanksgiving. This date is accepted as the true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

“The custom of an annually celebrated giving of thanks following harvest continued through the years. During the America’s War for Independence, a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

“By the middle of the Nineteenth Century, many states had begun celebrating Thanksgiving Day. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln appointed the first official, national day of thanksgiving. Since then, Thanksgiving Day has become an annual event, designating the fourth Thursday of each November for the holiday’s official observance."

We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the LORD’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease them from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, LORD, wast at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O LORD, make us free!

Thanks to God

Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home, and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope—that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy, and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!

JMS Editorial, Thanksgiving 2004.

I can hardly believe it is that time of year again. We had a very blessed Thanksgiving, for which I give thanks to GOD!

I've decorated this page in pumpkin orange and pilgrim black and white *_* Every year, Momma had a wonderful spread for Thanksgiving dinner, whether it was just the five of us or four generations at the dinner table! I would smell the yummy food baking and roasting while watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, back when the highlight was the balloons instead of the Rockettes and Santa.

We kiddos would work for weeks beforehand, making pilgrim and indian masks, decorating with pinecone turkeys and cornucopias.... And then came THE DAY when Momma put out the linen tablecloth and pulled out the china and silver and crystal. We'd drink cranberry juice and sweet tea while the grown-ups had coffee. And then there was the turkey and gravy and stuffing and taters, the cranberry sauce sliced and set out on its own special china dish, the sweet potato casserole and peas and corn on the cob and green bean casserole and rolls with REAL butter, the pumpkin pie and pecan pie.... My, how blessed we were. How very blessed we ARE.

It amazes me how many folks forget the Pilgrims, the religious and patriotic history of Thanks Giving. How many times did I hear "Happy Turkey Day!" this year???

But all the holidays/holy days are being diluted into "days off" instead of a day of remembering what God has done for us. Please, I encourage you to remember the reason for the season...for EVERY season! Thanksgiving is NOT "a day of giving thanks for how lucky we are," as was stated on a PBS Kids show on Thanksgiving Day 2004! How lucky??? And thanks to whom????

December is right around the corner after Thanksgiving. Is it "happy winter festival" and "max out the cards" and "shop 'til you drop so the kids still believe in Santa"? Or will you joyfully and boldly tell others of Jesus' birth? And that He is coming back, as He said!

Yes, the Messiah is the reason for every season...for every day of the year *_* Be a bold and loving witness and share this joyful news with others at every opportunity!


I want to thank You for what You have already done for me.

I am not going to wait until I see results or receive rewards;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until I feel better or things look better;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until people say they are sorry;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until the pain in my body disappears;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until my financial situation improves;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until the children are asleep and the house is quiet and clean;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until my husband gets promoted at work or until he gets THE job;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until I understand every experience in my life that has caused me pain or grief;
I am thanking You right now.

I am not going to wait until the journey gets easier or the challenges are removed;
I am thanking You right now.

I am thanking You because I am alive, so I still have breath to thank You.

I am thanking You because, with Your strength, I made it through another day's difficulties.

I am thanking You because I have the ability and the opportunity and the need in my heart to thank You.

I am thanking You because You are WORTHY.

I'm thanking You because, FATHER, You have never given up on me.

God is just so good, and He's good all the time. Continue to THANK HIM.


In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
I Thessalonians 5:18

Psalm 100

A Psalm of Thanksgiving *_*
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good: His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom this world rejoices;
who from our mothers' arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us;
and keep us still in grace,
and guide us when perplexed;
and free us from all ills,
in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given;
the Son, and him who reigns
with them in highest heaven;
the one eternal God,
whom earth and heaven adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Text: Martin Rinkart; Translation by Catherine Winkworth
Music: Johann Cruger; Harmony by Felix Mendelssohn

Not ALL, but SOME verses about giving thanks....
Leviticus 22:29
And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will.

I Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 26:7
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.

Psalm 30:4
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Psalm 69:30
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.

Psalm 79:13
So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.

Psalm 92:1
It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High:

Psalm 95:2
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

Psalm 97:12
Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

Psalm 106:1
Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 107:22
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

Psalm 116:17
I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the LORD.

Psalm 119:62
At midnight I will rise to give thanks unto thee because of thy righteous judgments.

Psalm 136:26
O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Psalm 140:13
Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.

Psalm 147:7
Sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God:

Daniel 6:10
Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.

Jonah 2:9
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Mark 8:6
And [Jesus] commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

Luke 2:38
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Luke 17:16
And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.

Luke 22:19
And [Jesus] took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

I Corinthians 15:57
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

II Corinthians 2:14
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

II Corinthians 4:15
For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

II Corinthians 9:11
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

II Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Ephesians 5:20
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Colossians 1:12
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Colossians 3:17
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

I Thessalonians 1:2
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers;

I Thessalonians 5:18
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Timothy 2:1
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

Hebrews 13:15
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Revelation 7:12
Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 11:17
Saying, We give thee thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.

Throughout God's Word is found again and again the giving of thanks. We are to be giving prayer, in song, in sacrifice, in every thing...."for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Some thanks-themed hymn devotionals on our site:
"Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart"
"Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow"
"Come, Thou Fount of Ev'ry Blessing"
"For the Beauty of the Earth"
"Great is Thy Faithfulness"
"Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"
"Count Your Blessings"
"Now Thank We All Our God"
"We Gather Together"
"Thanks to God"


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