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A Southern Thanksgiving
Just to set the record straight, Thanksgiving is a Southern holiday.
This Thursday, we celebrate Thanksgiving as an American holiday because most of the teaching concerning the celebration has come from a Yankee perspective. Thus we are told the following. The Separatists (later to be called Pilgrims) first set foot on land on 13 November 1620 at what would eventually be called Provincetown. They returned to the Mayflower and again set foot on land at the location to become known as Plymouth on 21 December. After facing scarce provisions and starvation, the fifty-three survivors celebrated what is now known as "the first Thanksgiving."
The Truth is that Thanksgiving, both as a Christian worship service and as a banquet celebration was first observed in the Virginia colony.
When the Royalists first landed in what would become Jamestown on 13 May 1607, the first thing they did was hold a Christian service to thank God for their delivery. They took the sails from the ships and stretched an awning across some trees to shield them from the glaring sunlight. A bar from the ship was nailed between two trees and became the place for sermons and communion. The Rev. Robert Hunt of the Church of England, read the services. He continued doing so at the same place, every morning and evening, preaching twice on Sunday, and celebrating Holy Communion every three months. He held the services under the trees until a church building could be constructed for worship.
Thus it is was thirteen years prior to the Pilgrims landing that a "thanksgiving service" was held in the first Southern colony on this continent.
A little over twelve years later, a group of thirty-eight settlers established what would become known as Berkeley Plantation about twenty miles up-river from Jamestown. The group's charter required that the day of they arrived be observed as a "day of thanksgiving" to God "Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God." A service was held that day and a celebration is held annually.
Not only this Thursday, but always give thanks unto the Lord Almighty for His provision and especially for being blessed to live in the South.
David O Jones