Thanksgiving is a uniquely American “holy day” that arose out of the deep faith of our spiritual ancestors–especially the Pilgrims–who came to these shores in November of 1620. Other nations celebrate it (like Canada to the north), and Israel enjoyed many holidays that were used to give gratitude to God.
But our American Thanksgiving is different. It came primarily from a community of New Testament believers who not only grasped the importance of thanking God in all things, but experienced a providential act they never forgot.
I have always appreciated reality more than fantasy–actual history compared to fictional stories. There is something about hearing a true story that speaks clearly and powerfully to the heart.
Not that imaginative story-telling cannot be helpful and instructive. Jesus’ use of parables is a good example. But there is something about a real struggle and the lessons learned that reaches our inner being and shouts, “that can be you too.”
During this special week when the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, I want to share two true stories to enlarge your grateful heart. Both are a testament that thankfulness is often forged in the furnace of affliction.
It is suffering that produces the true heart of Thanksgiving.