President Calvin Coolidge said: 
"The Pilgrims were the humble of the earth. An insignificant band; in reality strong and independent, a mighty host of whom the world was not worthy, destined to free mankind." 

Winston Churchill said:  
 “The further back we look the better forward we can see.” 

I believe:  
 "If we fail to know our history we will fail to make history!" 

 
God's 7 Providences 
Of Our First Thanksgiving 
 
Giving thanks after the landing of the Mayflower.

There were 37 Puritans of men, women and children, and the majority of them being the women and children. All the Christian Puritan men totaled only about 12. There were about 65 men that were "strangers", the non-Christian crew members of the Mayflower. Yet before disembarking the Mayflower, the Christian Puritan men drew up the "Mayflower Compact". All the Christian Puritan men signed it, and amazingly to us today, also required the entire 65 non-Christian crew members to all sign it as well. Christians in those days saw it Biblical for only Christians to be the civil rulers. If not, they knew it was historically consistent that in time they would be suppressed and eventually persecuted by non-Christian rulers. Their Mayflower Compact read in part: 

“In the name of God, Amen . . . by the Grace of God of Great Britain, France, Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc. Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith...a Voyage to plant the First Colony... in the presence of God and one of another, Covenant and Combine ourselves together into a Civil Body Politic... the fifty-fourth. Anno Domini [in the year of our Lord] 1620.” 

In those days the Christians, whether in the majority or not, viewed themselves as God’s agents to set the standard for the civil law and government for all of society. And most of the colonies right up to the Revolutionary War essentially believed that as well. That is why Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams and initially the majority of patriots did not support the U.S. Constitution. It abdicated the essence of God’s 1st Commandment, allowing only Christians to fill any civil office. However, until recent times no openly non-Christian was ever elected to a civil office or could have been.  

When the Pilgrims set foot on Plymouth they held prayer before building their huts. 

Though half the Pilgrims perished the first winter, all may have perished like previous New World expeditions, had God’s Eye not been on them. In 4 distinct ways the Plymouth Pilgrims were different than all the other previous New World expeditions: 

1. The Pilgrims all came from an evangelical orthodox church and all from the same church in Holland.

2. They were all genuinely committed Christians, at the time identified as Separatists/Puritans.

3. They brought their wives and children with them.

4. Contrary to popular thinking, they did not come to America to flee Christian persecution. They had already fled persecution a decade earlier from England to live in Holland, where they had continued to live in safety. Also unlike popular misinformation today, the Pilgrims did not come to the New World for gold or material opportunity but their driving motivation was only for one purpose: To set up a "New Israel", a new Christian nation to the glory of God, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven. The Lord's Prayer wasn't just rote to them: "Our Father Who is in heaven, holy be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven..."

And for most of four centuries until recent generations, America was for the most part a Christian nation "on earth" to the glory of God. Because of the Pilgrim's sole purpose and their Mayflower Covenant with God for this land, and many that followed after them, God mercifully had His hand of providence on America from the beginning. 

God's 7 Providences leading up to the first Thanksgiving:

1. The Christian Pilgrims were actually indentured servants to a London stock company and were supposed to sail to a designated land area in the New World much further south then where they ended up. There they were to work for seven years to pay back the London stock company for paying for their trip to the New World. The captain of the Mayflower ship continually tried to sail south to where they were suppose to land but providential storm winds were so strong making it impossible for the ship to sail south!  They had no choice but to set ashore where they did, at Plymouth. 

But unknown to them at the time, if they had landed where they were suppose to, they would have ran into savage Indians and they may have never been heard from again.

2. Providentially, where the Pilgrims were forced to land, it happened to be the only place on the east coast  where a few years earlier a deadly plague had killed off the entire savage Indian tribe who had been living there.  It was now uninhabited and all other Indian tribes were even afraid to come into the area for fear they too would die.  There was only one little Indian boy who escaped the plague because he had been kidnapped right before the plague by a European sailor and taken back to Europe and sold as a slave.

3. God also had the deadly plague providentially happen in a very precise timing of the year. The tribe had just finished burying all their corn and food items in their dirt mounds to preserve for the winter season. Evidently right after that the deadly plague hit the whole tribe killing them all, leaving all their food supplies protected in their dirt mounds until the Pilgrims arrived.

God did the exact same thing for His Hebrew children when they entered the Promised Land. God said in Psalms that "what the heathen had planted His children would reap". 

4. Because the Pilgrims survived in the formally plagued area, this caused all the other Indian tribes around to fear the Pilgrims and their god, believing the Pilgrim’s god must be greater than their god.  Indeed the Pilgrim’s God was greater!  As a result, the Indians were afraid to ever attack the Pilgrims and in some ways had a reverence for them. 

5. Shortly after the Pilgrims landed there was one lone curious Indian that suddenly appeared out of the woods one day.  To the Pilgrims amazement the Indian said, "WELCOME"!  He spoke clear English!  His name was Samoset. He soon left and they never expected to see him again.  But a few days later he came back with another Indian, Tisquantum, also called Squanto, who also knew English!

6. Squanto was the one little Indian boy who had providentially been kidnapped from his tribe just before the plague killed all the rest of his tribe.  And now the Pilgrims were living on the very land where he was from. 

7. God providentially had Squanto kidnapped and sold as a slave in Europe, not only to save his life but where he providentially was later freed and became a Christian like all the Pilgrims and learning their same language, English!  Also having lived in the very area where the Pilgrims were now living Squanto was able to help them learn how to survive in that very unknown wilderness area. Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to survive: How to stalk deer, catch eels, plant corn, refine maple syrup, learn which wild plants were edible versus poisonous and trap beavers, the pelts of which were in high demand in Europe.  Squanto lived with the Pilgrims for the rest of his life. 

By autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims were well-prepared for the coming winter and extremely grateful to God and His overwhelming providence with them. 

The Puritans sharing the first Thanksgiving meal with the American Indians.

Their Governor, William Bradford, declared a day of thanksgiving to be held in October.  This was the first Thanksgiving Day in America!  Out of Christian charity, the Pilgrims also invited one of the closest Indian tribes who had tediously become their friends living peacefully with them for many years. Ninety Indian men came, ate, played games together and celebrated with the Pilgrims for three days! 

Thomas Jefferson, in his 1805 inaugural address proclaimed that it was God who founded America: "Being God, in whose hands we are, who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land and planted them in this country." On this Thanksgiving Day, may we stop and give thanks to Him through whom all blessings flow!

 

Jim & Barb