The first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrims came after an intense battle for freedom. They came from a place of confinement where religion & multiculturalism were trying to squeeze spiritual life out of them. Their desire to worship God alone led them across the ocean to the New World, a promised land. God showed them the way and they risked it all for freedom. After the arduous journey in which many died, the surviving pilgrims did not get to sit back and enjoy their freedom. They continued to fight to establish a new way of life. The territory was unfamiliar and the natives were not always friendly. They had to rely on establishing relationships in order to learn how to build their new community. Sickness and death threatened to wipe them out, while hunger drove them on. Yet, God kept His hand upon them. They persevered and their crops grew. While on their journey to the new land, the Christian pilgrims had spent time in Holland with a community of Sephardic Jews. They learned of the Feasts of the Lord and experienced the Feast of Tabernacles in a way they probably never had done before. The Feast of Tabernacles is a celebration of harvest and a time of remembering how the Lord had brought the Israelites out of Egypt (bondage) into the Promised Land. I’m sure the pilgrims felt an instant connection with the Jews since they were in the middle of their own journey to their Promised Land. When their first harvest came in the New World, they celebrated by giving thanks and praise to God, their Deliverer and their Sustainer. Their hearts were full of thanksgiving which compelled them to worship the One who made it all possible. Years later, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, but the Spirit of the holiday is rooted in the Feast of Tabernacles.
Why is this significant? Because God established this nation for His purpose. The Pilgrims didn’t just wander to the New World, they were sent by Him. He ordained their steps and planted them here to establish His covenant root. Before stepping foot on the new land, the Pilgrims signed the Mayflower Compact. This document represents the first time free and equal men entered into a covenant with God and each other to create a new society based on biblical principles. The celebration of Thanksgiving is a celebration of covenant with God! When the Pilgrims convened their first celebration of harvest, rooted in the Feast of Tabernacles, they established God’s order in America. They forever staked this nation to God.
Fast forward to today, November 24, 2016, two weeks after the election where the voice of the nation rose up to reclaim our Christian heritage. That might seem like an overstatement, but whether Christian or not, the thing that made America the greatest nation on earth was our Judeo-Christian heritage. It’s a nation built on biblical principles for the benefit of all. It was never about controlling people and forcing them to be Christian. It was about establishing laws and norms that honored God which in turn, resulted in the entire nation being blessed. The battle for the recovery of our nation has been raging for years as many have sought the Lord through prayers, tears, prophetic declarations and the demolition of strongholds that tried to separate us from our original destiny and our Father God. The election was God’s response to our prayers. It was not so much about who became president, as it was about the heart of the nation. God was asking people to choose a path forward. He was issuing a call to return to Him and the blessings He originally intended for this nation. We must remember that He is sovereign and how He chooses to turn this nation and get us back on track is up to Him. He is looking for willing vessels that will trust His methods. We may not particularly like His methods, but if submit to His ways, we will be blessed!
Our great privilege is to offer Him our praise and thanksgiving and put our trust in Him. Remember those that have gone before, the Israelites, the Pilgrims, the warriors, soldiers and many more that have fought in pursuit of the Promised Land. Our fight is not in vain. We make our appeal to Heaven, and God fights the battle. We give Him the little that we have and He causes it to multiply. He is the miracle-working God! This year, God is doing something so extraordinary, something new has begun. He is pouring out His Spirit in unprecedented ways and He is going to reap His harvest!
Let us join our hearts with His. As we give thanks, remember that our Thanksgiving tables are our altar of sacrifice. Let us offer ourselves back to Him and join Him in reaping a harvest of souls for His Kingdom. This lost world needs Jesus! The truth is, He is here and His desire is to bless. It’s time to give thanks!