WHAT WHOM AM I THANKFUL?
What we know today as Thanksgiving Day, is recorded as having been a harvest festival held in the fall of 1621. At this festival, the newly arrived European settlers [the Pilgrims] invited the indigenous people of this country [the Indians] to attend the feast. From that celebration, on Thursday, this country will celebrate Thanksgiving Day.
I pause to question, “For what were those newly arrived European settlers thankful?” Since I was not there, I cannot provide a definitive answer to that question. However, when I consider the history of that time, I can easily speculate some of the things for which they would have been thankful.
First, they would have been thankful for life. Additionally, history documents that if it were not for the knowledge of and assistance from the indigenous people who taught them how to survive through the winter months, they would not have lived. Although many died, the majority were able to survive and flourish.
Second, they would have been thankful for food to eat. It is also documented that the indigenous people taught them how to smoke and dry meat and fish, plant corn, beans and squash, fertilize it and protect it with natural insect repellents.
Third, they would have been thankful for clothes to wear. It is additionally documented that the indigenous people taught them how to tan hides used for clothing.
Fourth, they would have been thankful for their health. It is furthermore documented that the indigenous people taught them how to identify plants, herbs, berries and root and determine which ones were toxic, and which ones were useful for medicinal and culinary uses.
Although the European settlers would later consider the indigenous people as savages, heathens and demon possessed, and although many of the indigenous people died of diseases from the Europeans like smallpox and measles – for which they had no immunities, because the indigenous people were in their lives, they had a reason to be thankful. More than life, food, clothes and health, they would have been thankful for the indigenous people who were in their lives.
On today, perhaps the question, “For what am I thankful?” Should be exchanged with, “For whom am I thankful?” More than what I have, I am thankful for who I have. On today, I express my thanksgiving for those whom God has placed in my life. Those who love me, help me, guide me, assist me, correct me, defend me and pray for me. I would not be who I am nor where I am were it not for them. More than life, food, clothes and health, I am thankful for the people that God has placed in my life – I AM THANKFUL FOR YOU.