The truth about Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving ppt pic

No one can argue that American Thanksgiving is a complex weave of spiritual, historical and cultural elements resulting in a national identity with profound significance.

These insights are based on the book THE FIRST THANKSGIVING  by Robert Tracy McKenzie, Inter Varsity Press Academic, 2013.

Part #1

Ours is a “present tense society” … important to be inspired by true facts of past … “historical ignorance leaves us vulnerable” … “we have chosen the Pilgrims as our honorary ancestors” (American and Christian).

  • Pilgrim/Mayflower/Plymouth thanksgiving tradition was notFirst Thanksgiving” … More accurate label is “First American Protestant Thanksgiving North of Virginia and South of Maine”
  • Algonquin Indians participated in regular ceremonies linked to the crop cycle
  • Spanish held a Thanksgiving mass in St. Augustine Florida in 1565 (only two of the Pilgrims were even born)
  • Spanish held a Thanksgiving with Manso Indians near El Paso in 1598
  • French Huguenots celebrated Thanksgiving in 1564 near Jacksonville Florida
  • English colonialists on Maine coast in 1607 and in Virginia in 1610 & 1619

My observations: We as Christians must get history right. Accurate, reliable history is integral to the Christian faith. American Christians make a ‘big deal’ about the roots of this holiday, so it is essential to set the record straight and draw helpful insights with appropriate lessons. Those will come in subsequent posts.


About dougjohns

Doug Johns retired from ministry in Canada to devote more time to international work. Right now he pastors part time at the International Baptist Church in Bielefeld, Germany. He is a graduate of York Univ. (B.A.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div.). Doug is married to Yvonne and they have four grown children plus eight grandchildren. Doug has had significant experience as a Presbyterian Minister in Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and New Brunswick. He has served as Associate Pastor at West Congregational in Haverhill, Massachusetts; Doug is committed to international ministry in Romania; and he has taken leadership in Christian Camping as Executive Director of Camp Fireside, NH; Glen Mhor Presbyterian Camp, Ontario; Timberline Ranch, BC. .... avid baseball fan of the Toronto Blue Jays ... Managed American Legion Baseball Team out of Creston BC in North Idaho League. Doug is a serious runner with many international half-marathons completed over the last 6 years.
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