Thanksgiving: Part Three

November 24, 1999

This week is Thanksgiving week, so I'm providing a number of commentaries that give the background and history of Thanksgiving.

When the pilgrims came to America, their original destination was in Virginia. But the Pilgrims were blown off course and landed at Cape Cod in what now appears to be God's providence. Because their patent did not include this territory, they consulted with the Captain of the Mayflower and resolved to sail southward. But the weather and geography did not allow them to do so. They encountered "dangerous shoals and roaring breakers," quickly forced to return to Cape Cod. From there they began scouting expeditions and finally discovered what is now Plymouth. Had they arrived just a few years earlier, they would have been attacked and destroyed by one of the fiercest tribes in the region. However, in 1617, the Patuxet tribe was wiped out by a plague. The Pilgrims thus landed in one of the few places where they could survive.

There was one survivor of the Patuxet tribe. Squanto was kidnapped in 1605 by Captain Weymouth and taken to England where he learned English and was eventually able to return to New England. When he found his tribe had been wiped out by the plague, he lived with a neighboring tribe. Then Squanto learned that the Pilgrims were at Plymouth, so he came to them and showed them how to plant corn and fertilize with fish. He later converted to Christianity. William Bradford said that Squanto "was a special instrument sent of God for their good beyond their expectation."

This week we have been talking about Thanksgiving, and I trust you will do the same on Thanksgiving day. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk to your family about faith and thankfulness. I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries.