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 season. To fully understand the history of Thanksgiving we must go back to 1620, when the Pilgrims left England for a place free of Walmart Super Centers. 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. Another major contribution was the cornucopia, which actually originated in ancient Greece. When the ancient Greeks would take off their sandals their ancient wives would scream, “Put those sandals back on your feet! You’ve got a cornucopia!”

As with any holiday there are certain myths surrounding Thanksgiving. The biggest myth concerns the meal at the first Thanksgiving. Historians only agree there was a staple of fowl and venison. Once they picked the staples out of the meat it tasted pretty good. The meat was roasted by several people turning the spit . . . which 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 preferred method of dining by college football players everywhere.

The most frustrating myth is that the Pilgrims always wore black and white. This is wrong. The only time they wore black and white was when they were under attack by Indians from the air. The Pilgrims would lay down next to each other and disguise themselves as a piano. However, many of these Pilgrims grew tired of diving on the ground so they could look like a piano. So they moved south, where we get the term . . .  “Florida Keys.”

There are still 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 giving thanks 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 toward God. What’s up with that?

Psalm 106:1 says, “Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (ESV). The 100th Psalm is subtitled, “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.” It has several words about giving thanks, “ . . . worship the Lord with gladness . . . enter his gates with thanksgiving . . . give thanks to him . .  his steadfast loves endures forever” (NRSV). That’s why we celebrate. God’s love never ends. And neither should our thanks. Is Thanksgiving a myth to you? It is only if you think about it one day a year. Go ahead and celebrate Thanksgiving next week, but live your life every day with an attitude of thankfulness. Don’t myth out on Thanksgiving.

More Posts