I've been teaching Sunday school at The Sunday night service of my church in
Riverside for nearly 16 years. Every Sunday night before Thanksgiving Day, I always talk about the real reasons behind the Thanksgiving holiday. It never ceases to amaze me how many kids in my fourth & fifth grade combined class know very little about what Thanksgiving really is. Therefore, in light of that lack of knowledge in our children, I felt compelled to go ahead and add the same lesson I taught last Sunday night to my blog for this evening. Many of you may already know
the story but some may not so I hope I can help as you go tomorrow to celebrate
Thanksgiving with your family and friends tomorrow.
When the pilgrims and their native friends held their celebration feast, it was to honor
their Lord whom the believed brought them through that perilous journey and first
year in the colony for they were a very religious people. They were Christian. You may
have been taught that the pilgrims came to the "New World" to escape religious persecution
and you would be right. But there's a more important reason that was in the heart and minds
of those that sailed on the Mayflower. In order to understand the main reason for making
the 66 day trek across the ocean, we must know what was the motivation behind those that
made the trek.
On November 11th, 1620 the Pilgrims or Separatists as they were called, gathered and
signed the Mayflower Compact. In essence, it was a contract between the settlers
consenting to follow the Compact's rules to ensure order and saftey for the colony.
Below are the words written and agreed to that day.
"In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.
Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape Cod the 11th of November, in the year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, 1620."
It is within the second paragraph of the compact that we gain special insight to the
motivation of these men and women. Knowledge as to what was behind their drive and
determination to undertake such a perilous journey.
"Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia..."
You see, the journey was far more than just escaping the religious persecution of
their day. It was answering the call and following the direction of their Lord who
commanded them to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation" -
It was this drive that spurred them on. And it was to their God that they gathered
together to give thanks on that very first thanks giving day celebration, which most
historical accounts say lasted 3 days.
So I say to my Sunday school kids every year that when they eat the turkey, when they chow
down on the potatoes, and when they devour the pumpkin pie; never ever forget the real
reason we celebrate. And the real person we give Thanks to.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
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