November 25, 2010

The True Source of Our Thanksgiving Holiday

~ “LETTERS FROM AMERICA” - by The Metaphysical Peregrine ~

Each year, on the forth Thursday of November, we celebrate and give thanks for all the good things we have. It’s a truly pure holiday in that it's an expression of its original intent. No costumes to dress up in, no gifts to give, no Easter egg hunts and all the rest. Family and friends get together for one reason only, to participate in a feast to express love and gratitude for each other and the bounty provided to us in our country, and for some of us to thank God for his blessings and grace. 

The story of the first Thanksgiving has been distilled and over simplified, the true story not told by revisionists. Like many things, what we're taught in school just ain't so. Thanksgiving is more of a celebration of an economic miracle and thanking God for abundance. The original charter for the colony in the early 1600’s stated everyone should share all the fruits of their labor. No private property, no division of labor. The result of this economic structure was that half of the settlers died or went back to England. Disease killed many more because the low production of crops led to malnutrition and lowered immune systems. Some of the settlers were calling in sick, slacking in their work, and others stole food. Why put in the extra effort, if the results of that effort provided no more than what it got the low producer? After three years of starvation and illness, Governor Bradford decided to violate the charter and implement the principles they had set out in the Mayflower Compact and the principles for living set forth in the Bible.

Governor Bradford:

"'The experience that we had in this common course and condition tried sundry years...that by taking away property, and bringing community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing – as if they were wiser than God."

By giving each family a parcel of land and to produce as much of whatever they wanted:

"'This had very good success,' for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been." 

 That bounty allowed for profits, and their debts to the charter companies were paid off. The families had savings and began to create personal wealth. Those things did not happen using socialist principles of the commune. Though the Indians did teach them how to grow corn and other vegetables and showed them how to fish, the success of the colony didn’t result from that, but from rejecting socialist, communal principles. Bradford wrote the new system "…had very good success for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come…the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."  

What’s identified as the first Thanksgiving was to rejoice in their success, that they wouldn’t face starvation again. They applied the story of Joseph of reduced taxes and putting a percentage of crops produced away from the productive years to keep the people fed during lean years. What they did was thank God with a feast.

Governor Bradford’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation:

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty
God for all His blessings.
--William Bradford
Ye Governor of Ye Colony

It was not the Indians and Communalism that saved the Pilgrims, it was capitalism and the Bible that did. For these we are grateful and thankful, and we praise God and thank Him for these things, on this day. The original proclamation for our national holiday was made by George Washington, October 3, 1789. Part which reads:

"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to"recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"