Monday, November 22, 2010

The Thanksgiving Miracle

For those who read my blog, I will divert to an older history than I usually write about. But, if it were not for the story that I am about to share, there would be no Ozarks’ History.

While working in a library, I have the opportunity to see, view, and critique thousands of books. It seems over the past few years, I have been more discerning about my personal collection of books in my home.  Personally, I think some books are not worth the paper they are written on…others priceless. Therefore, my personal library at home is dwindling. I’m getting picky.
I have one book that I believe The Father in Heaven has placed in my temporary possession which is a history book of North & South America written in 1849. It is not a politically correct, dumbed-down, white-washed bleached version of history that spins events to ones liking. At times, it reveals facets of the past that we have never been told.  In its’ pages lie a wonderful chain events that prefaces the origin and reason we celebrate Thanksgiving.  

I have a common affinity to this particular story I am about to share, since it was written by Thomas Robbins, D. D. who is my 5th great-grandfather. It’s funny…I have never heard this story before; I wonder why? 
Thomas Robbins, D. D.
August 11, 1777-September 13, 1856

 “The present year proved to be a year of suffering, in consequence to the scarcity of food. The following affecting account is given by Bradford:  ‘But by the time our corn is planted our victuals do spent, not knowing at night where to have a bite in the morning; we have neither bread nor corn for three or four months together, yet bear our wants with cheerfulness, and rest on Providence. Having but one boat left, we divide the men into several companies, six or seven each, what take their turns to go out with a net, and fish, and return not till they get some, though they be five or six days out; knowing there is nothing at home, and to return empty would be a great discouragement. When they stay long, or get but little, the rest go a digging shellfish, and thus we live the summer; only sending one or two to range the woods for deer, they get now and then one, which we divide among the company; and in the winter are helped with fowl and ground-nuts.’  It is recorded that, after a drought of six weeks, the government set apart a solemn day of humiliation and prayer, which was almost immediately followed by copious supply of rain. In the language of the chronicles of the times, it is thus spoken of:  ‘Though in the morning, when we assembled together, the heavens were clear, and the drought as like to continue as it ever was. Yet (our exercise continuing eight or nine hours) before our departure, the weather was overcast, the clouds gathered together on both sides on all sides, and, in the morning, distilled such soft, sweet, and moderate showers of rain, continuing some fourteen days, and mixed with such sweet seasonable weather, as it is hard to say, whether our withered corn or dropping affections were most quickened or revived, such was the bounty and goodness of our God.’ Soon after, in grateful acknowledgment of the blessing, a day of public thanksgiving was observed. This, by judicious historian, Thomas Robbins, D. D. is believed to be the origin of the annual thanksgiving of New England.”

It is commonly taught today that Thanksgiving was modeled after harvest festivals that were commonplace in Europe at the time. It is rarely, if ever known, taught that Thanksgiving is commemorated because our forefathers humbled, fasted, and prayed for the breaking of a drought. Their answer to prayer was a gentle and mild shower for 14 days off the East Coast…that did not damage crops. To me, that is miraculous. 

Our ancestors knew how to be resilient and yet humble. They were tough old knots with hearts bent toward Heaven.

And to you my dear reader, are there dry places in your life? Honestly, I can see my fellow man’s parched land before I see my own wilderness. But as I pause and look at my accomplishments against my shortcomings, I fail. I know I cannot live without The Lord’s salvation, guidance, and provision. 

Do I still carry my ancestor’s traditions that will increase the faith of my children and the next generation?

Do you?

I ask this one request of you, dear reader. Print off this old story and share it with someone. Let’s dig out and dust off our foundations and prepare for rain.

Work Cited:
Goodrich, Charles A. Great Events in the History of North and South America. Hartfort: House & Brown, 1949.

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