By Martin | Friday, November 20, 2015 | 11:50 AM
Thanksgiving Day will see the largest gathering of turkeys of the year, except for the annual meeting of the people who plan the fall television series. The turkeys on your table may even be more full of life. To fully understand the history of Thanksgiving we must go back to 1620, when the Pilgrims left England for a place free of Walmart SuperCenters. On the voyage over, the Pilgrims called themselves the "Saints," while the others were referred to as the "Strangers." These later evolved into Baptists and Methodists. They brought with them three important celebrations: The Sabbath, A Day of Thanksgiving, and a Day of Humiliation. Baptists later expanded the Day of Humiliation into Clergy Appreciation Month. One of the hits of Thanksgiving and a major contribution to decorating was the cornucopia, which actually originated in Greece. When the ancient Greeks arrived home after a hard day of fighting the ancient Persians, the first thing they did was take off their sandals. Then their ancient wives would scream at them, "Put those sandals back on your feet! You've got a cornucopia!"
As with any holiday there are certain myths that surround Thanksgiving. The biggest myth concerns the meal at the first Thanksgiving. What did they eat? Historians only agree there was a staple of fowl and venison. Sometimes when the staples would get stuck in their teeth they just left them there. It happened so often Pilgrim dentists started calling them "braces." The meat was roasted by several people turning the spit . . . which, oddly enough, is the same phrase used to describe wedding vows in some rural areas of Arkansas. The Pilgrims had no forks. They ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. This is still the most preferred method of dining by youth ministers and college football players.
The most frustrating myth is that the Pilgrims always wore black and white. This is heinously wrong. The only time they wore black and white was when they were being attacked by Indians from the air. The Pilgrims would lie down next to each other on the ground and disguise themselves as a giant piano. As you can imagine, many of the Pilgrims grew weary of diving on the ground and looking like a piano so they moved south. This is where we get the term, "Florida Keys."
There are many myths surrounding Thanksgiving. For the Christian it is not a holiday to be celebrated on one day but a holy idea to be continued throughout the year. We need to carry the idea of thanksgiving with us all the time because we have much for which to be thankful. Living in America we have become spoiled and take everything for granted. There are times we don't even attend church with a heart and attitude of thanksgiving. Where are the smiles?
The 100th Psalm is subtitled, "A Psalm of Thanksgiving." It contains the lines, " . . . worship the Lord with gladness . . . enter his gates with thanksgiving . . . give thanks to him . . . his steadfast love endures forever." (NRSV) That's why we celebrate. It's not about things, it's about thanks. It's not about goodness. It's about Godness. Is Thanksgiving a myth to you? It is if you only think about it one day a year. Go ahead and celebrate next week, but live your life every day out of a thankful heart. Don't myth out on Thanksgiving.