Today is the day before our national Thanksgiving holiday. The day has a long history starting with the early Pilgrims who braved dangerous seas to arrive in a new land. They came to escape the religious persecutions of their home in England. In coming to what is now known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, they realized they had made a mistake for they were really bound for Virginia. It was too late in the Fall season to doing anything else but try to survive the coming Winter where they landed. Over the years, the Pilgrims survived brutal Winters and ongoing war with the native people called Wampanoag. After being nearly wiped out by Western diseases and war with European immigrants, these native people are back in the news. Why? It’s Thanksgiving Season and descendants of the Wampanoags are bringing back their own language by teaching it in schools.
It was hatred and persecution that made the Pilgrims leave England. It was hate that Pilgrims and Wampanoag went to war with each other. But, for a short time, there was more love than hate, and the two peoples celebrated Thanksgiving by sharing food they had hunted and harvested in that first Fall Season. Though very different in culture and beliefs, they were thankful, and able to live in peace and love at that time.
1 John 3:13-15 “13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” (ESV)
The early church was persecuted by those who only had hate. Let us love, not only those who love us, but also those who hate us. Let us keep the peace, during this Thanksgiving season and beyond. Let us love our neighbors, for hate does no one any good. Hate leads to a slippery slope of hating more and more, ending with violent and murderous intent. Those who hate end up with nothing. Those who love are blessed and forever thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!