Turkey"Happy Turkey Day," said the deliveryman as he left our office a few moments ago.

I really appreciate his sentiments, but we're leaving something very special out. Thanksgiving is the only American holiday that is still attached to its historic meaning.

Our family visited the site of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts a while back and a guide told us stories about the pilgrims and the incredible hardships they endured. Whether the severe disease that struck the sea-faring pilgrims or the bitter cold of the New England winter that caused so many deaths, the early settlers faced day after day of trouble. From the time the pilgrims left Europe and made it to their first growing season in Plymouth, they buried about 50 of their family, friends and sea mates--that is about half of the number that embarked on the Mayflower's journey.

Recognizing the loss of loved ones and the continuing hardship, the Pilgrims looked for God's provision and celebrated His delivery. In that first successful harvest of 1621, the 53 surviving Pilgrims celebrated the "First Thanksgiving in Plymouth". The celebration lasted 3 days and included neighboring Native Americans and their leader, Massasoit. Those neighbors really didn't understand the reason for the celebration. After all, the crops, fowl, fish and venison were common to them.

But the pilgrims had seen hardship they never envisioned and decided to celebrate God's provision.

I'm thankful.

  • Thankful for the country and freedoms that aren't duplicated anywhere in the world.

  • Thankful for a wife who has endured cancer and lives today.

  • Thankful for a daughter who is alive today when expected to die shortly after birth.

  • Thankful for bright, God loving daughters.

  • Thankful for Advocace teammates who put their considerable talents, skills and energy into our mission.

Even more: I'm thankful for a God who loved us so much, He created a way that we might feast and fellowship with Him through His son, Jesus.

So, pardon me for being a little edgy about the greeting 'turkey day'. Giving thanks just means a lot to me.