Have you ever done any research into the first Thanksgiving? Pretty fascinating how incredibly different it was than most of us have pictured in our minds.
A short list of differences:
- No turkey – probably ate deer
- No fruits – just onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots
- No corn on the cob – rather they had cornmeal
- No pumpkin pie – just hollowed out pumpkins with custard…ew
And most surprisingly, no women! Sure enough they did the cooking, but this was more of a military alliance that was guys only and included some good old fashioned ’merican target practice (Read: We have the firepower, folks).
But over the years, the turkey/cranberry/football galactic alliance has successfully pulled off our modern day-eat ’till you explode-tryptophan-overdose-football holiday.
And you probably love it just as much as I do—right?
There is one “item,” if you will, that was present at the first Thanksgiving that has endured over the years, and I hope that it shows up at your table this year.
What is this mysterious element I speak of? See if you can identify it from what was probably the prayer offered at the first Thanksgiving:
O Lord our God and heavenly Father, which of Thy unspeakable mercy towards us, hast provided meate and drinke for the nourishment of our weake bodies. Grant us peace to use them reverently, as from Thy hands, with thankful hearts: let Thy blessing rest upon these Thy good creatures, to our comfort and sustentation: and grant we humbly beseech Thee, good Lord, that as we doe hunger and thirst for this food of our bodies, so our soules may earnestly long after the food of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen. (Source: pilgrimhallmuseum.org)
Wow! First off, don’t you just love the way they spelled and phrased words and sentences? I know we all speak so good nowadays, but sometimes I wisheth that we still spoketh in such an honorific manner.
And secondly, you probably noticed that being thankful is the theme. Thankfulness was served and given in abundance at the first Thanksgiving, as it should be served and given in abundance at your table this year.
Well…from just a scientific viewpoint, gratitude provides a boatload (Pilgrim pun intended) of benefits that include better mental and physical health, better sleep, more friendships, stronger relationships, and a boost to your self esteem!
Perhaps that’s why in the Bible we are instructed to be thankful dozens and dozens of times—because God gave us gratitude as the key to a contented life and relationship to Him!
So…how thankful are you? If you find yourself needing some help, here are two key verses about thankfulness that will get you started:
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).
I can give thanks for many things, but do I give thanks for everything? This verse tells us that God allows the temptations and trials of our lives to keep our eyes on Him, and the only way to do that is to be thankful for everything- even the tough stuff.
Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
People ask all the time: “What is God’s will for my life?” I can’t speak to what God’s yet unrevealed will is for anyone, but I can direct everyone to this verse. In a nutshell, God’s revealed will for you is to find joy in everything, pray about everything, and be thankful for everything. When our focus is on being thankful, then we will have clear eyes and minds to see what God really wants for our lives.
But when we aren’t thankful, we let our circumstances drive us down. And worst of all, our discernment for God’s will gets clouded in our self-pity and anxiety over our lives.
So this Thanksgiving, give thanks! And the day after Thanksgiving, give thanks again! Can you imagine how your life would change if the attitude of gratitude became a permanent part of your daily routine?
Picture each day as a Thanksgiving feast—but instead of turkey and pies, you have thankfulness and praise!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Make Thanksgiving like the first Thanksgiving, with praise and gratitude for Jesus Christ and all He has done for you, then take that attitude with you each day!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Father, please empower us to give thanks each day for You and for everything in our lives. Bless us this Thanksgiving, and help us keep our eyes on You.
Read: Psalm 95:2.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
Get: Youth Group 2 Go. “Who am I, and what is my purpose?” Help your students explore this critical, life-shaping question from a practical, engaging, biblical perspective with the Youth Group 2 Go lessons.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to use this Soul Fuel as a bible study with your students this week? Copy and text them the following: “If you’re facing something hard in life right now, here’s one thing that will help this Thanksgiving. Check it out in this week’s devo: http://hubs.ly/H01qTHb0”
Big Idea: Keeping an attitude of gratitude helps us deal with trials and helps us discover God’s will for our lives.
Key Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- What is your favorite Thanksgiving food?
- Would you have wanted to be at the first Thanksgiving? Why or why not?
- How can you develop an ongoing attitude of gratitude?
- What other ways could you apply this Soul Fuel to the THE Cause?