Like I’m sure many people, potatoes have always been a part of my family’s Thanksgiving celebration. And this year I now know why. As you can see in the above photo, we grandkids were blessed by the opportunity to have grandpa show us where he picks potatoes. My grandfather spent many years working in the fields on big trucks picking potatoes. And his giving us potatoes was his way of sharing of his abundance. That’s the story of the first Thanksgiving, and it warms my heart to see folks still sharing of what they have.
Many researchers say the first Thanksgiving didn’t have turkey, instead there were smaller birds and fish. However, they had much of the same traditional Thanksgiving vegetables, including potatoes, which makes Grandpa smile.
In so many ways Thanksgiving is about food and family, and football and a day off from work. And those are all things for which we can give thanks. But the Pilgrims didn’t have much of that, and yet they had enough to give thanks for, for three days! All for which they thanked God can be summed up in one word: Providence. According to Merriam-Webster God’s Providence means: the power sustaining and guiding human destiny. That was a comfort to the Pilgrims who had to endure extreme hardship. But God’s Providence is also at work in positive ways too. He provided protection and food for the Pilgrims through the local Wampanoag Indians.
The Pilgrims didn’t focus on what they didn’t have. Rather gratitude, for us and for them, comes by focusing on what we do have. Ingratitude makes one stagnant, in mind, body, and soul. And that’s not what we see in the Pilgrims. Their gratitude stemmed from their trust in God’s Providence and that motivated them to begin America, fearless of the process and confident in the results, knowing God was overseeing it all.
Next time you open a bag of potatoes, think of America’s first farmers – the Pilgrims, and how grateful they were for this hearty food and the Indians who showed them how to plant. Not only that but imagine eating potatoes everyday, and being thankful for all the ways to eat the same thing, just one example of how in everything we can give thanks. Potatoes and gratitude are both life essentials. And both come from trust in God. The more trust you plant, the more gratitude you’ll reap.
Have a fun game of football with the family, eat lots of turkey and mashed potatoes with gravy, get those Black Friday deals-after all the Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving was three days, but most of all serve up big portions of gratitude at your table this holiday and all year.