(By Eddie Hyatt) America’s national “Thanksgiving” holiday is rooted in the nation’s radical Christian origins and the custom of its first immigrants to set aside special days for giving thanks to God for His goodness and blessings. This custom was carried on by succeeding generations and eventually found its way into the national consciousness and calendar. The Pilgrims who landed on Cape Cod in November 1620 were devout followers of Christ who had left the comforts of home, family and friends to pursue their vision of a renewed and reformed Christianity.

Although facing insurmountable challenges and much suffering, they maintained an attitude of gratitude through every trial. They were a thankful people. They never wavered in their faith even during their first winter in the New World (1620-21) when sickness ravaged their community and half of them, about 50 in number, were taken away in death. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims the following fall of 1621 after they had gathered in their fall harvest. Although their hearts were still heavy from the losses suffered the previous winter, there were at least three areas for which they felt particularly grateful to God. CONTINUE