The Five Miracles of ThanksgivingFor the average American, images of the first Thanksgiving are dour Englishmen with drab clothing and funny hats and shoes. The truth is more colorful and in fact miraculous.
A group of Bible readers (known as Separatists and not pilgrims), having recognized that the Church of England showed no similarities to the church of the New Testament, were forced to leave England for Holland or suffer fines and imprisonment. Life was hard for the exiles in Holland, so they decided they would be better off moving to America.
- The first miracle was the loss of the Speedwell, the Mayflower's smaller sister ship. Twice the two ships left England only to turn back because the Speedwell was not seaworthy. They decided that there was no hope to repair the smaller vessel so those least committed to the enterprise stayed behind. Had those who stayed behind joined the company it may have changed the composition of the first community and lessened its chances for success.
- The original plan was to find a site somewhere up the Hudson River. However, after their first landfall in Cape Cod, their attempt to continue on to the Hudson was halted by stormy weather. The Separatists took this as a sign to not continue and they landed at New Plymouth instead. Had they tried to settle in the Hudson region, they would have had to deal with natives already living in the area who would not take kindly to accommodating these European strangers.
- The Patuxet tribe, who had lived in the area, had all recently died off from diseases. The neighboring tribes stayed away from this empty land, afraid that moving in would result in death. This small band of a hundred Englishmen had found what was likely the only unclaimed land along the entire Atlantic seaboard.
- After surviving a brutal winter where death claimed half their numbers, the Separatists were not in a good condition to thrive in their new land. They had no knowledge of what crops were best for the region, or how to plant them. They had proved totally inept as fishermen, despite the reputation of the region as a rich fishery. In the early spring they were contacted for the first time by two English speaking natives. How surprising must it have been to see a native warrior walk into their compound speaking these words in English: "Welcome! Have you any beer?" This first native, Samoset, had learned English from fishermen visiting the area, but the second one, Squanto, had actually lived in England for many years. Squanto taught the separatists how to farm and fish.
- The neighboring tribes could have wiped out the Separatists at anytime. Squanto served as their main contact with the closest native tribes and helped the Separatists negotiate a peace that lasted for more than forty years.
A coincidence is a small miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous.
Follow on Twitter - @fiddlingant
If you liked this post, be sure to share it by selecting one of the share buttons below.
If you would like to get a notice of future posts, choose the Follow option at the bottom of this blog.