Thanksgiving is Not Heathen
Thanksgiving is not heathen. Thanksgiving is the only non-heathen holiday that is widely observed in the U.S. We have a lot to thank the Pilgrims for Religiously and Politically. They were persecuted in Europe because Yahweh and His Scriptures were their Supreme Authority, not the Crown or the Church (the Church of England or the Catholic Church). As Americans our Experience is based in part on the history of the story of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims are our intellectual, theological, political, economical, and social “fathers and mothers” of our unique American Experience. They were Separatist who did not celebrate Christmas and Easter as they did not see a biblical basis for it, and wanted to truly finish and complete the Reformation in Spirit and Truth. They were “Separatist” from the corrupt and unbiblical practices of both the Church of England and Catholicism. They were persecuted because of this by the Church of England and James I (the same James who authorized the King James Version of the Bible of 1611 as penitence for his homosexual activities) as the “head” (based on the belief of the Divine Right of Kings and Apostolic Succession) for not conforming to the evil and unscriptural practices of the Church. They met in homes. Studied straight from Scripture and believed Scripture, and only, Scripture was the normative instruction (positive and negative) for the life of a believer. They had an Eldership. Made decisions as a community of believers. Had property and things in common. Wrote pamphlets against the established government and religious systems and were driven out of England and Holland for all of these actions. Wow! Their beliefs and actions established the groundwork for the U.S. and its ideals of freedom of worship, freedom of speech, due process, trial by jury, etc. How we have so strayed!
The Pilgrims viewed the first “thanksgiving meal” at Plymouth as a Thanksgiving Offering (Lev. 7:11-13) to Yahweh for giving them safe passage to the New World based on the commands found in Psalm 107 to give thanks after arriving safe from a long journey on a ship (See Psalm 107:23-32). (The Pilgrims viewed the New World as a Promised Land where Yah was bringing them to worship Him without being persecuted by the government and established church.)
Point is, Thanksgiving is not a heathen feast as the Pilgrims were nonconforming, free thinkers, guided by Yahweh’s Word and His Spirit and established a community to advance and practice the aforementioned ideals in word and deed—for this I am thankful because it is hard to imagine a world without people who were willing to break away from the system and do what is Scripturally sound and true, even though it was painful, hurtful, and subjected them to persecution, poverty and the like. This is what I will be Thanking and Praising Yahweh for this Thanksgiving; for because of the Pilgrims (and Yahweh’s Power and Guidance) we can have independent meetings in homes and the like without fear of being persecuted and dragged into prison for not conforming to the religious and/or political majority.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits' end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders. (Psa 107:21-32)
Grace and Peace!