A Tool of “Thanksgiving” #7

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon G...

The First Thanksgiving, painted by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930). The First Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth in 1621. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last time, I wrote on some pretty tough places we may find ourselves in life, places we never expect to find ourselves in. Suicide, Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Heart Disease, Death of a loved one, Divorce, etc. are things that we just don’t expect to have to deal with in our lives, but we do. I wrote about how we can actually rise above the storms of life, become victors over calamity, as on wings as eagles. It isn’t that we avoid the storms or deny them, but we use the energies of the storms and we surmount the thunderheads of life. I mentioned above, the verse found in Isaiah 40:31 NASB (see below)

Yet those who [a]wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will [b]mount up with [c]wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.


           a.       Isaiah 40:31 Or hope in
           b.       Isaiah 40:31 Or sprout wings
           c.       Isaiah 40:31 Or pinions

This is a powerful verse and acknowledgement of God’s desire in our lives. Those that wait on the Lord … the footnotes imply a faith, a hope … a concept found in thanksgiving. Hoping, like thankfulness, is a mental exercise that takes root in our heart and effects change in our lives, and outlook in general. The verse goes on to speak about what I’ve posted in previous Tool of Thanksgiving posts about how we can gain strength through the proper perspective on God over our calamities.

Like us, another group of people underwent tough times, times of death, financial devastation, illnesses of all sorts, loss of job and home, etc.; I’m speaking of the famed Pilgrims. Yes, the one and only group that brought us the holiday Thanksgiving. For me, I was raised with the understanding that Thanksgiving was about the Pilgrims that settled on the Eastern coast of the North America and their feast with the natives. However, though that may be true to a microscopic proportion, like the proverbial tip of the iceberg, Thanksgiving had, and has, so much more to it than black hats, silver buckled shoes, white aprons, Indian Corn, Turkeys, and cornucopias. Thanksgiving was about just what it says, the giving of thanks, gratitude, and. It’s about the recognition that there is a God … a God bigger than you or I, that is taking care of both the big and little things in life.

Thanksgiving has little to do with the ‘Ten Little Indians,’ Tom the Turkey, or Paul the Pilgrim. It has to do with the Pilgrims, in their broken state, recognizing their need of God and sacrificing what little they had in a celebration of what God had done for them … in spite of the numerous deaths, the foreign land they found themselves in, rampant illnesses and starvation, the impending Winter storms, etc. Despite the tragic place they could have been focused on, they chose to look to God and not just think about how ‘lucky’ they are, or even talk about how ‘blessed’ they were … they invited their new native friends, brought out their mere morsels (it wasn’t like the extravagant feast we have today), and with absolute gratitude sacrificially gave their appreciation to their God, their Provider and Sustainer.

That, my friend, is what Thanksgiving is all about … the humble recognition of where we would be if it wasn’t for the provision of God. Maybe we too would be starving (literally). Maybe we would be stranded along the highway in a snowstorm. Maybe we would be sitting next to a loved one fighting for their life, as they lay unconscious in a hospital bed … maybe we are one of those. Regardless, He has given us so much, even His own life for our own. Tell me, what do we do to show our appreciation of such a gift?

Until later . . .

Jonathan Watson


4 thoughts on “A Tool of “Thanksgiving” #7

  1. Thanksgiving has been the subject of many pieces of fine art for centuries. Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, “American painter and illustrator of Americana,” painted several Thanksgiving-themed scenes, including The First Thanksgiving (1915), The Mayflower Compact (1925), The Return of Miles Standish (1920), The Return of the Mayflower (1907), and The First Sermon Ashore (1921).

    • Thank you Beth for this … Yes, you are right. Thanksgiving has been the theme of many great pieces, and rightfully so. The acknowledgement of God as our provider and sustainer is certainly worthy of many more great works for centuries to come. Thank you again, Jonathan

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