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The First Thanksgiving

According to the Plimoth Plantation, 4 different states claim they were the site of America’s first Thanksgiving.  Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia each have historical documents to support their claims.  Since Native Americans made it a tradition to hold celebration feasts whenever God had given their tribe a successful harvest long before the arrival of the Mayflower, its hard to know who’s right.  Thus, its not important who get’s the credit for this holiday, as long as individuals make it a point to display their gratitude to the Creator of life each Thanksgiving Day.

In ancient times, Moses records Israel’s first Thanksgiving, nearly 3 months following the miracle at the Red Sea, Exodus 19:1.  After Israel’s first triumph since their exodus from Egypt, husbands were reunited with their wives and children, Exodus 18:2-8.  As Moses shared all that God had done for Israel to his father in law Jethro, this statesman was moved to celebrate the great news.  Gathering the elders of Israel, Jethro organized the first recorded Thanksgiving feast, Exodus 18:9-12, offering burnt sacrifices to the Lord and breaking bread together.

The brother of Jesus urges modern believers to continue this tradition in James 1:17-18.  Instead of taking sole credit for the good things in life, James reminds Christians to thank God for the blessings bestowed upon us.  Although blessings are not always equally dispersed, your actions can influence the amount you receive, Deuteronomy 28:1-2.  Despite our sinful state, Romans 5:8, Jesus died so that we might become born again, John 3:3-5.  May the true meaning of Thanksgiving be revealed to you as you open God’s word, Romans 10:17, during this Christmas season.

by Jay Mankus

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