As we rapidly approach Thanksgiving and all the busyness that accompanies it, it can be easy to overlook the true reason of the Thanksgiving celebration. Namely, it is to give thanks to God for His faithfulness to us. It’s to look over the past year and praise Him for the blessings that He has given us. We also remember the Pilgrims, who started the tradition of Thanksgiving.
One special tradition is to place five kernels of corn on each plate before the Thanksgiving meal. These symbolize the grueling hardships of the Pilgrims during their first few years in America and their faith in God through it all.
At one point, the daily ration of food for each Pilgrim was 5 kernels of corn. With faith that God would sustain them, no matter what, they survived the grueling winters in America. Their example of heartfelt gratitude in the first Thanksgiving is beautifully articulated in the Thanksgiving prayer by William Bradford:
O Lord our God and heavenly Father, your unspeakable mercy towards us has provided food and drink for the nourishment of our bodies. Grand us peace to use them reverently, as from your hands, with thankful hearts. Let your blessing rest upon each of us, good Lord. Grant that as we do hunger and thirst for this food for our bodies so our souls may earnestly long after the food of eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and risen Savior, Amen.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, let’s not forget to praise the Lord, like the Pilgrims did, for all He’s done for us!