Every Thanksgiving, we try our best to make a huge, fun, quality time with our family.
With five kids coming home and bringing all their families along, we usually have around nineteen (edit: We’re up to twenty-five, now!) people here for at least two days, and sometimes four. Each year brings its own nuances and each year we realize the potential for disaster always looms over us, engendering memories.
I want to share with you one very, very special Thanksgiving celebration we always acknowledge with great fondness and reverence: The First Thanksgiving.
No, of course, we weren’t there. We’ve researched this amazing key event in the history of our lives, though, until we know all the players and all the scenes by heart. For it is a thing of the heart, for us.
I know, you think I will begin retelling the day the Pilgrims and the American Indians sat at table together and shared recipes and held athletic contests. If so, you are wrong, for that was the Second Thanksgiving.
The First Thanksgiving, just one year prior, was one of starvation and death, of fear and despair, of great commitment and great loss.
It was the Thanksgiving of the “five kernels of corn”.
Five Kernels of Corn.
Among the members of that small band of pioneers, those five kernels were all each one had to eat, daily.
Look at it.
Look at it and think, “This is all I have to eat today,” and see where your thoughts run . . .
How well could you cope with that? What would you do? How long before you began eating bark? How long before you started thinking about stealing or quitting? How long before you went mad?
Those people were of stiffer stuff than we are, I am sure.
At least, those who survived were.
They had been lied to, cheated, and left for dead, by their own people. They did not know how to tell good berries from poisonous. They did not know how to capture the wild animals around them. They did not know which plants held nutritious roots beneath the soil. For that matter, they did not know how to subsist in a culture of bare subsistence.
But they knew God.
And before the following year had passed, they had found relief, had found food, had found mercy at the hands of the humans around them, and had found new vigor and courage. And that, without running wild to murder or theft.
They were thankful, of course. They gathered in their new bounty and created a celebration that lasted for several days, with lots and lots of food.
But after prayer, the first course of the big meal was:
Five kernels of corn.
Lest they forget.
And so is the practice at our house.
Lest anyone, ever, could forget.
Won’t you join us?