Plymouth Pilgrims: A Legacy of Gratitude

Of Plymouth Plantation, a Thanksgiving classic, is William Bradford’s firsthand account of the founding of the Plymouth colony. Reading through it, I kept waiting for the big fall feast. I expected chapter upon chapter to be devoted to the preparation and event.

Instead, I read about dozens of thanks givings.

The pilgrims made it safely acros the Atlantic. They thanked God. They made friends with the Indians and thanked God. They were given strength to care for one another during the terrible death-ridden first winter and thanked God. Their homes burned down, they shivered in the cold and they prayed. Spring came. They thanked God.

They faced difficulties beyond what I can imagine: near drowning, loss of possessions, betrayal, sickness, death of loved ones, starvation, loneliness, a strange unknown land, cold.

Yet the pilgrims thanked God constantly.

The true legacy of the pilgrims should not just be a table loaded with food and one day of giving thanks. Rather, their legacy should be a spirit of thankfulness.

Thankfulness in good times and in bad. Thankfulness for trials and blessings. Thankfulness because we worship the God who ordains all of life, even down to the minutest detail.

Happy Thanksgiving!

part of Gratituesday

Witches, Goblins & Vampires –Conquered at Calvary

 

I awoke from a terrible nightmare. My husband had turned into a vampire. As the nightmare faded, this glorious truth replaced it:

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I awoke from a terrifying nightmare. The most terrifying I’ve ever had. Just in time for Halloween.

I’ll spare you the details, but as it ended our son had mysteriously vanished and I, terrified, called to Josh. As he turned towards me, his eyes flashed that vampirey glow and I realized in a moment of abject horror that he was a vampire.

[Vampires eyes glow, right? I’ve never actually seen a vampire movie. Scary movies are totally *not* my thing!]

So yes, it was silly. But at three in the morning it took a while to calm down. Waking up Josh to tell him “I dreamt you were a vampire, can you please assure me you’re not,” didn’t seem very nice.

 

Jesus conquered death and Hell (and even vampires!)

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Then the words from a Halloween article our pastor sent blazed through my mind, “Today, we live in a society much like that feared by C. S. Lewis — a time when people have become materialists who do not really believe in God any longer but who, strangely, do still believe in demons.” In a recent British survey 68 percent of those polled said they believed in ghosts. Only 55 percent acknowledged belief in God.

Evil is real. Death is real. We see it in the world all around us.

Christians in Medieval Europe knew this. But they also knew that Jesus conquered death and hell.

Traditionally, November 1st was the day that Christians celebrated the triumphs of martyrs and saints who had gone before them. It was called All Saint’s Day or All Hallowed’s (Holy) Day. Just like at Christmas, the celebration began the night before. On the eve of All Hallowed’s Day, Halloween, they celebrated the defeat of the devil.

They celebrated his defeat by mocking him. He is a fallen celestial angel, but they mocked him by dressing up in silly costumes with pointy ears and a red tail.

Today many people view Halloween as a day to celebrate evil. As Christians we should see it as a day to rejoice in Christ’s victory over evil. Because He defeated Satan on the cross, we can live in victory, not fear. Because He defeated death in His resurrection, we no longer need to dread death. Or vampires.

Christ has risen. Fear was conquered at Calvary. Hallelujah! And Happy Halloween!