Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Second Thanksgiving

O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. Psalm 105:1

Happy Thanksgiving!

Please take a few minutes to read the article below by Jerry Stewart.

We all know the story of that first Thanksgiving, but what do we know of the Pilgrims after that?  After the Pilgrims celebrated that first Thanksgiving, the next winter was so terrible, so harsh; it made it almost impossible for the Pilgrims to hunt or fish. Their food supplies were quickly depleted and the Pilgrims were forced, once again, to ration out their food.

When the next spring came, they were tired and sick and weak; hardly able to begin their spring planting. But they knew if they didn't have a crop of at least twice the size of last year - they would surely die. Twice the planting? Did they have the strength to do it? Only with God's help.

So, they set out in the fields, men, women, children, all working to plant their crops. The first planting was hard, but successful. But as soon as they had harvested that first crop, they had to set their weary bones to begin again with the second planting. It was very hard, but it did appear that things were going to work out. And then it came - a dry spell that lingered on and on. Then, it turned to a drought. A drought so harsh that even the oldest Indians could not remember anything like it before.

Week followed week as the blazing sun burned down on the crops. One of the Pilgrims, Edward Winslow, described it this way: "There scarce fell any rain, so that the corn stalks began to send forth the ears before they were half grown, with both blade and stalk hanging their head and changing the color to appear utterly dead. Even our beans parched away, as though they had been scorched before a fire".

So, just what were the Pilgrims to do? Their crops were dying and they could do nothing in themselves to stop the drought. And if this crop could not be harvested, there would not be enough food for the winter. Well, most people would moan and complain and maybe even blame God - but not the Pilgrims. They did something quite amazing. Accounts tell us that they began to examine their own hearts before the Lord. Then they made a proclamation that no one was to work, but everyone was too fast and pray for God's divine intervention.

The drought went on for twelve full weeks. Just what would happen? Winslow's personal account continues. He writes: "In the morning when we assembled together, the heavens were clear and the drought was likely to continue".

Then we're told that as a group they met and prayed for some nine hours...then it happened. He says: "Before our departure, the weather became overcast, the clouds gathering on all sides. On the next morning, a soft, sweet and moderate shower began to fall. It came without either wind or thunder, or any violence, and by degrees in such an abundance that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, it made even the Indians astonished to behold".

It rained for fourteen days. The crop yield that year was in such abundance that the Pilgrims had even an excess to trade to the Indians. They had done it. They had survived their last hard winter. Their harsh circumstances had almost killed them and certainly did its best to discourage them. But, they would not be defeated. Instead, these Pilgrims had placed their faith, their trust, and their very lives in the hands of almighty God - and he had delivered them. And that second thanksgiving was even more festive and joyous than the first. There was an abundance of food for all. But, when their first course was served, they each had placed before them an empty plate, with just five kernals of corn, lest anyone should forget.

That day, William Bradford closed out his thought with these words,
"As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light kindled here has shown unto many we have noted these things so that you might see their worth and not lose what your fathers have obtained with so much hardship."

Enjoy the day praising and thanking God for all His wonderful blessings.

Have a thankful day,

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