Here are 7 Thanksgiving stories that we’ve heard or perhaps never have heard from this perspective. Have a great and wonderful Happy Thanksgiving! ◊
I love Thanksgiving as a beautiful holiday with family and friends. It really is the perfect launch into the holiday season with Christmas now just a month away.
As it is every year, it’s a wonderful time for personal pause, reflection, appreciation, joy, and human interaction. A time to further connect, share stories and perspectives.
For Christians, the Thanksgiving holiday maps well to one’s own thankfulness to God and a time of grateful reflection and celebration with friends and loved ones. For secularists or non-believers the holiday is still a wonderful time of family gatherings in peace and thankfulness.
What’s curious though today is how the historic origins of Thanksgiving seem to be slowly fading from our national memory. The stories associated with Thanksgiving are truly tragic and heroic while uplifting as they depict the worst and the best of our human nature and the woes and hardships of life.
They are also laced with the Divine.
The stories should be known, understood, and retold to ourselves and our children.
In all cases, truth should prevail regardless of religious or political beliefs. Where all of us can be unified is in documented history and backstories surrounding Thanksgiving and its roots as an all-American holiday.
Here are 7 Thanksgiving stories that I’ve shared here over the years that lend themselves to good reading or a reread with friends and family around a fireplace or even the dinner table. Or pull up a chair and a cup of coffee or tea today and reconsider this wonderful holiday:
- Pilgrim’s Process – (2013) The Pilgrims really did have a clear vision and staked their lives on following it. This story highlights the particulars in process around the small band of people on the Mayflower ship and their compact with each other and shipmates before landing on the east coast of a new home. Read the story here.
- A Thanksgiving Story – The Indian Stranger – (2014) The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was celebrated with gratefulness for God’s provisions and survival, including a “special instrument sent of God…” This often-told story about the Indians is often told without some of the amazing details that led up to it. Read the story here.
- A Thanksgiving Story – A Pilgrim’s Hope and Loss – (2015) Here’s a Thanksgiving story you might have forgotten, or never knew. This story depicts the dark and harrowing experiences of the Pilgrims upon their initial landing at Cape Cod and the personal tragedy that struck their leader William Bradford even before all the Pilgrims departed the Mayflower. Read the story here.
- America Founded as a City Upon a Hill? – (2015) That this country, America, was founded by imperfect people of Christian faith and continues to be populated as such, only speaks to the continued fulfillment of Winthrop’s vision of this community as a beacon for a dark world seeking light. Read the story here.
- Thanksgiving – an Economic Story – (2016) Did you ever hear it as a lesson in human nature and economics? Planned socialism led to capitalism. This story highlights the very real survival trials of the first Pilgrims that led to the experimental foundations of a new economic system that changed the course of history. Read the story here.
- The Thanksgiving Challenge – (2017) A man, at his wife’s urging, agreed to spend a few hours before Thanksgiving handing out food packages and turkeys to others in need. A series of events leads to The Thanksgiving Challenge for the whole family. Read the story here.
- The Great Thanksgiving Debate – (2020) There’s a fascinating historical connection between Thanksgiving as a national holiday and Thomas Jefferson’s political notion of the “separation of Church and State.” This story is rarely told. Read the story here.
Yes, Thanksgiving is a human institutional holiday with a fascinating history reflecting God’s hand and man’s response to a life that should be recognizing our gratefulness to God for all that He has done. Beyond the natural joys of a holiday break and time with our loved ones, knowing these truths should give us courage to pass on learnings and history to our children and new generations.
Have a Happy and Wonderful Thanksgiving!
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4-5
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