Was the original purpose of Thanksgiving to kick off the Christmas shopping season?
Of course, we know it was not! The fourth Thursday of November is a holiday created by the government for its people to give thanks.
And what are we thankful for?
When James became king of England in 1603, he declared that everyone would conform to his beliefs about the church, or be banned or hanged.
William Bradford, and a group men and women and children, separated themselves from the Church of England and met secretively. This group of people became known as the separatists and later on were called the Pilgrims.
Initially, after many struggles and delays, they fled to Holland, seeking religious freedom.
Eventually, they decided to board a ship, called the Mayflower, and to head to Virginia where they could worship God as they pleased.
They landed in Plymouth, which was north of their desired landing spot, Virginia. Many died due to the harsh conditions, but no one chose to return to England or to Holland.
They desired religious freedom.
And we remember the story of how the Indians helped the Pilgrims survive.
"In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies."
The roots of our Thanksgiving celebration came from people who were thankful to God for their religious freedom.
I am thankful for my family and for God's many blessings in my life.
As well, I am truly thankful for the courage and resolve of the Pilgrims in their quest for freedom and a new life.
They truly stepped out of their comfort zone and followed what they believed God had called them to do.
This is something that we can do today, no matter what our situation is.