Weekly Update: Thanksgiving Blessings!
It is instructive for us today to recall what life was like for the Pilgrims who arrived on these shores in December of 1620. As the Plimoth Plantation describes it:
Many of the colonists fell ill. They were probably suffering from scurvy and pneumonia caused by a lack of shelter in the cold, wet weather. Although the Pilgrims were not starving, their sea-diet was very high in salt, which weakened their bodies on the long journey and during that first winter. As many as two or three people died each day during their first two months on land. Only 52 people survived the first year in Plymouth. When Mayflower left Plymouth on April 5, 1621, she was sailed back to England by only half of her crew.
Nevertheless, a year after their arrival they sat down for a feast of thanksgiving. They had befriended and made a treaty of mutual protection with the Pokanoket Wampanoag leader, Ousamequin, also known as Massasoit to the Pilgrims.
In the fall of 1621, the colonists marked their first harvest with a three-day celebration. Massasoit and 90 of his men joined the English for feasting and entertainment. In the 1800s this famous celebration became the basis for the story of the First Thanksgiving.
It would be easy to focus on the passing difficulties of our time, especially for those of us who fight daily to preserve the God-given liberties that have blessed this land since the time of the Pilgrims. But, as they did, we must pause to reflect on all that is good and on the Source of this goodness.
I am particularly fond of a hymn popularly associated with Thanksgiving Day and often sung at family meals and religious services on this day, having been brought to America by Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam, now New York City. It was written by Adrianus Valerius and is entitled “Wilt Heden Nu Treden” (“We Gather Together.”)
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
All of us at Judicial Watch wish you and yours a most blessed Thanksgiving!