We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving. A group of pilgrims, many of them fleeing religious persecution, crossed the Atlantic on the Mayflower. After being blown off course, they landed far from their original destination of Virginia and settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Unprepared for the harsh winter, however, nearly half of them died before spring had come. Enter Squanto, a Patuxet man who had been watching the struggling settlement. In his youth, Squanto had been kidnapped by Europeans and served as a slave in England before escaping and returning to his beloved home. After he got back to his settlement, however, he found that all of his people had been wiped out by smallpox, a disease brought by the Europeans. Instead of holding all of this against the pilgrims, Squanto taught them how to plant and hunt and live in the harsh environment. When Autumn came, there was such a great harvest that the pilgrims invited Squanto and the other Native friends to join them for a great Thanksgiving feast, which we still celebrate today.
Each one of us was dying, lost in sin and hopeless for an abundant life now or in the future. Enter Jesus, God who became man, so He could walk among us. He was mistreated at the hand of those He came to save, but just like Squanto, Jesus only repaid evil with kindness. Eventually, He gave His life so we could live, forever showing the Universe the character of God. In celebration and gratitude, someday we too will share in the greatest Thanksgiving feast of all. The book of Isaiah tells us a little about it: "And in this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all people a feast of choice pieces, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of well-refined wines on the lees" (Isaiah 25:6). I can't wait to thank Jesus for being our Squanto, for coming to a people who despised Him and showing us How to live. But why wait until the feast up there? Let's start thanking Him this Thanksgiving!