November 25, 2009
A Child's Thanksgiving
by Katherine Britton Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - John 10:10
Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name." - 1 Chronicles 29:13
Sometimes it takes a children's sermon to remind me what's important. Thanksgiving should be a simple affair, but my adult brain had overcomplicated this heart attitude without much effort. The past few months had been filled with many moments where I had said, "So far, so good" but doubted the future. The provision at hand was enough, to be sure. Yet I wondered if what looked like adequate provision today would diminish over time. I doubted God's intention to replenish what I used up.
On Sunday, I listened to the children's sermon with special attention when the kids talked about the Mayflower and the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. Each child quickly displayed their knowledge of Pilgrims and Indians - including Squanto - and incredible dynamic that played out that harvest season. Their teacher slowly enlarged their descriptions to include the previous winter's deaths, the desperately short food supply, the hope of a new planting season, and the summer's withering drought. By the time harvest rolled around, crops had been gathered in - not in abundance, but certainly sufficient compared to the previous year. The Pilgrims knew it, and reveled in the adequacy of their harvest. Edward Wislow, one of the only primary sources on the day, wrote this about it:
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
Almost four hundred years later, I stand convicted by Winslow's words. The man had stared death in the face, and had little idea what future lay in store for the Plymouth colonists. In spite of that, he had literally tasted God's provision and found himself satisfied. The meal was so filling, he wished that even if "it be not always so plentiful… we often wish you partakers in our plenty."
I wish I had Winslow's faith, to happily look at today's provision and consider each simple wonder. We are "so far from want" in those moments. We serve a faithful God who is more than enough for all of our needs. It's like the praise song says:
All of You
is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You
Is more than enough
Intersecting Faith & Life: As you tally up the things that make you thankful, consider Edward Winslow's observations of God's faithfulness. Do you see the abundant life laid out before you?