Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History

Academic journal article Anglican and Episcopal History

The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us about Loving God and Learning from History

Article excerpt

The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning From History. By Robert Tracy McKenzie. (Downers Grove, Pennsylvania: IVP Academic, 2013, Pp. 219. $18.00.)

Tracy McKenzie has written two books in one. The first may be read for fun and profit by anyone interested in the "real story" of Thanksgiving. The second is primarily intended to help American Christians think in a Christian manner about our nation's history. There are a host of books that smugly dissect popular "myths" or "lies" about American history. Fortunately, this is not one of them. It is true that McKenzie dispels a number of common beliefs about Thanksgiving, but he does so in a winsome, engaging manner.

For instance, he shows that although there was a feast in the fall of 1621 that we now call the first Thanksgiving, there is no reason to believe the Pilgrims ate the food we usually associate with the day (with the possible exception of turkey), that they invited their Native American neighbors to join them, or that they considered the day to be a holiday (i.e. a "holy day"). The last point is partic- ularly important in light of complaints that liberals, secularists, and other ne're-do-wells are removing faith from one of America's most Christian holidays. The Pilgrims, like other reformed Christians in the era, rejected holidays not found in scripture. Indeed, they observed only one regular holy day, the sabbath, and two occasional "providential" ones: days of humiliation and fasting and days of thanksgiving. The November 1621 feast was not one of the latter.

The Pilgrims did celebrate what they would have considered the first thanksgiving in America, but not until July of 1623. This was a "solemn day" set apart for returning "glory, honor, and praise with thanksgiving to our good God" (143-44). In the late seventeenth century Massachusetts began setting aside an autumn day for thanksgiving, but this was primarily a religious celebration. It was not until the nineteenth century that it began to morph into what we know as Thanksgiving-i. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.