In November, the U.S. celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday. In 1620, before the U.S. even existed, people came to the eastern coast of what is now known as Rhode Island. These Puritans made homes near a trading post called Plymouth. They formed a government based on law, rather than an individual or king.
The Puritans suffered a lot that first year. It was cold. They were terribly hungry. Half of the people died from sickness. But they were free to choose their own religion and they had some help from friendly Wampanoag native-Americans. The Wampanoag taught the Puritans how to plant corn, shoot game, fish and find clams and lobsters.
After the harvest of 1621, the Puritans had a big dinner with the Wampanoag tribe. They gave thanks to God for helping them survive with the help of the Wampanoag. We celebrate this thanksgiving every year by eating turkey and joining with our families to remember things we are thankful for.
First, talk about things that you are thankful for in your life. Give some detail about people, situations, background or other things that you are thankful for today or this year.
Second, talk about some hard times you have had in your life. Did any good things come out of this hard time, that you can see? Describe an experience where the love and help of some person or of God helped you in a hard time. Describe an experience where you helped someone when they were having a hard time.
Third, what are the most important laws in your native or adopted culture that affect your life? Why do you obey laws set by the government, or follow rules of family, school or work? Give examples of good and bad laws. What is the process for changing a bad law in your native culture?
There are many poems (psalms) written that give thanks to God. Here are two examples:
“I will give thanks to you, God, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Ps 139
“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. For His lovingkindness is forever.” Ps. 118
Paul, the apostle, also tells us many times to be thankful:
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching one another . . . singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God . . . Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” Colossians 3, 4
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5
****Is it difficult to give thanks in everything? Why does Paul say that?