Kolar: A Day of Feasting

"It took a lot of faith for the pilgrims to settle in this strange new world. In the midst of their uncertainty and strife, it is wonderful to read about their ability to be thankful," writes Janel Kolar.

Rev. Janel F. Kolar is the pastor at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Dickinson, North Dakota.
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John 6:35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Tomorrow we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s a day of feasting – a day where food takes center stage. While we might be struggling with the cost of this year’s meal, we will still eat, and for that we should be very grateful. It serves us well to remember that food is not plentiful for everyone and never has been. The first European people to visit this country would have had a very difficult time if it were not for the generosity and graciousness of the indigenous people who helped them.

Edward Winslow, a Mayflower Pilgrim, wrote a letter shortly after the event we classically refer to as the first celebration of thanksgiving in December of 1621 that I find interesting for its history, but the part that really caught my attention was the ending. Mr. Winslow wrote:

“Our wheat did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. 

They four, in one day, killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week.  At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”


It took a lot of faith for the pilgrims to settle in this strange new world. In the midst of their uncertainty and strife, it is wonderful to read about their ability to be thankful. You and I can be thankful too, because no matter what our economic status is, no matter what we are able to serve for Thanksgiving, no matter how hard times are for us – we are also so far from want.

We have the bread that will not leave us hungry and the water that flows from the living well which will keep us from ever being thirsty -- you and I have Jesus. And I hope we all wish others could partake in that plenty too, because that is truly worth our thanks-giving.

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