“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned;

if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity;

but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand."

Ezekiel 33:6

"A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring."

Proverbs 25:26

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this day, lets try to set aside all the things/circumstances in our lives that cause us worry and frustration, and recognize the so many things we have to be thankful for.  Whatever is wrong in your life, remember, it can ALWAYS be worse.  I know its hard, but sometimes, its ok to take a break from it all and put it all in perspective to be truly thankful for what we have, because it is too easy to lose sight of what is truly important...Our Freedom, endowed by our Creator.  Keeping in sight how fortunate we are to be free, will keep us focused on our stewardship of such a gift, because all to often you never realize what you have until you lose it.  Let us give thanks AND appreciate the God's gift of Freedom.

by Douglas Kosarek

Thanksgiving, celebrates man's productive ability. It is not a day of national remembrance nor is it a particularly religious festival. This holiday is designed to celebrate and be thankful for what we have...for what we have managed to produce through a season of hard work. 

Thanksgiving celebrates man's ability to reap what he sows. The cornucopia filled with exotic flowers and delicious fruits, the savory turkey with aromatic trimmings, the mouth-watering pies, the colorful decorations -- it's all a testament to the creation of wealth...of "PLENTY".

As nearly everyone was taught in primary school, the origin of Thanksgiving traces back to the first plentiful feast held between Puritan settlers and the Wampanoag Indians in the 1620’s. Unfortunately, the official story of Thanksgiving leaves out quite a few important details.

Why did the "Pilgrims" come to North America...above all, they wanted to be free.

They disagreed with the religious teachings of the Church of England and yearned for an opportunity to worship as they wished...the "Pilgrims" were a particularly devout group of Puritans who did not celebrate Easter or Christmas because they were not found in the text of the Bible...in fact, the Pilgrims were members of a group of people called Separatists. These people had different beliefs than the rest of the English people.  In 1606, they formed their own church in a small English village called Scrooby.

At this time, the Church of England was the same as the Government of England. In other words, King James I was the head of both the country and the church. Not belonging to the church meant not obeying the king. This was treason.
So the Pilgrims left England, in search of a safe place to practice their religion. They fled to Holland and founded a home in Leiden. For 12 years, they worshipped under their pastor, John Robinson. But the price they paid for their religious freedom cost them their economic freedom...the Pilgrims were incredibly poor...they had indentured themselves to pay for their voyage to Holland, and the price was working for someone else six days a week to repay their debts. Many of them were forced to work difficult jobs all day long, leaving little time to provide for their families. They had found religious peace in Holland, but they were making barely enough money to survive.

What to do?

They finally decided to sail to North America. They didn’t want to join the Jamestown colony, founded in 1607, because they feared that the English people there would treat them badly because of their religious beliefs.
So the Pilgrims planned on the northern part of the Virginia Territory, around the mouth of the Hudson River (near what is now New York). Happily, the Pilgrims found businesspeople in Holland who were willing to give them money in exchange for a share of the profits made in America. The Pilgrims bought a small ship called the Speedwell and sailed back to England. They worried the ship was too small to make the crossing of the Atlantic alone. They stayed long enough to secure a second, larger ship...the Mayflower. This delayed their departure for several months as they collectively sold off much of their worldly possessions and even several tons of their supplies to come up with the funding for their journey to the "New World". Many of them were farmers and they KNEW these delays were dangerous because they were missing the planting season.  They finally set sail from Southampton on August 5, 1620.

They discovered that the Speedwell in fact wasn’t in shape to make the journey, and the Pilgrims returned to Plymouth, England. They crowded all 102 people onboard the Mayflower and set sail again, on September 16. This time, they kept going.

The ocean crossing was long and difficult. Many of the Pilgrims wondered if they would ever see land. Two people died, and one baby was born. On November 9, they finally saw land.

Two days of sailing later, they dropped anchor at Cape Cod, which is now in Massachusetts. An advance party went ashore and looked for food and shelter, while most of the people stayed aboard the Mayflower. A group of Pilgrims, led by William Bradford, signed the Mayflower Compact, which said that they agreed to govern themselves and not take orders from other people...which was in keeping with their "Separatist Beliefs".

More scouting of the new land followed, and the entire group finally went ashore and began to build a settlement. It was December 23, and the place they had chosen they gave the named Plymouth (the same as their port of departure)...with very little ration remaining...a near desperate situation from the start. The first winter was very hard. More than 40 people died. The rest of the Pilgrims somehow made it through the winter. 

When the Mayflower landed, the passengers who had fled from Europe and endured tremendous hardship together on the ship voyage across the Atlantic Ocean...knew that they could not survive long on their own as individuals, they needed the help of the whole group...what they didn't know would prove to be a dramatic demonstration of the fatal flaws of collectivism.

In the early Plymouth plantation, there was no such thing as private property or division of labor. It was even forbidden for an individual to produce their own food. All food and supplies were held in common. Plantation officials were supposed to equally distribute goods to all. Plymouth County Governor William Bradford wrote, “the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing.” Needless to say, the colonists didn’t instantly live happily ever after. (interesting that many of the original colonies were in fact named "Commonwealth" of Mass or Virginia, etc.)
In the spring, they began to plant food from seed they had brought with them from Europe and began to venture inland to explore their new home. On March 16, Samoset and another Native American entered the Plymouth settlement and said, in English, “Welcome, Englishmen.” The Pilgrims were amazed. Samoset explained that he had learned their language from English fishermen who had fished there in the winter. The two peoples exchanged greetings and ideas. They parted as friends.

A few days later, Samoset returned with Squanto, another Native American leader. The Pilgrims welcomed him, too. Soon, Massasoit, the leader of the large tribe the Wampanoag, visited Plymouth. The two peoples signed a peace treaty that would last 50 years.

The harvest of food in that first year was very weak...in part because the "Pilgrims" were not accustomed to the soil and were planting non-native foodstuffs. In keeping with common traditions from all over Europe, they celebrated even this meager harvest with a harvest festival...and games just like you would see at an English faire...including competitive target shooting. Interestingly, some historians believe that the Indians were not really "invited"
to the Community Harvest meal, but that they came because they heard the sound of Musket fire and about 90 Wampanoag warriors came to investigate...and were then offered a place at the table. The Wampanoag brought five deer to the cooking fire, adding venison to the meal. The food must not have been very good because the next spring, the Native Americans began by show the Pilgrims how to plant native vegetation like wheat, barley, Indian corn, and peas...and to fertilize the crops by placing a small fish in the seed mound. The second year harvest was noticeably better...but not dramatically so.

Unfortunately, few Americans today know this part of the story. The Pilgrims almost starved to death because they organized their farm economy along communal lines. The goal was to share the work and produce equally.  The result was near-starvation. The Pilgrims experienced chronic food shortages. Half of the Pilgrims had already died or went back to England in the first year alone. Economics Historian Professor Benjamin Powell states, “Bad weather or lack of farming knowledge did not cause the pilgrims’ shortages. Bad economic incentives did.”

... Plymouth settlers faked illness rather than working the common property. Some even stole, despite their Puritan convictions. Total production was too meager to support the population, and famine resulted. This went on for two years.

"So as it well appeared that famine must still ensue the next year also, if not some way prevented," wrote Gov. William Bradford in his diary. The colonists, he said, "began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length after much debate of things, (I) (with the advice of the chiefest among them) gave way and agreed that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land."

In other words, the people of Plymouth took a drastic step toward what they initially believed was "every man for himself and his family" in order to stop the squabbling about who was or wasn't working hard enough...and instead moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.

"This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."

Because of the change, the first Thanksgiving FEAST would be held after the harvest in what is believed to be November of 1623.

That is what private property does — as the Pilgrims discovered. It connects effort directly to reward, creating an incentive for people to produce far more. Then people who happen to produce "plenty" will then naturally trade their surpluses to others for the things they lack...and the "Free Market" takes over. Mutual exchange for mutual benefit makes the entire community even richer.

In 1621 and 1622, the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians did share two meals together. But it wasn’t until the “miracle of 1623" that they celebrated a bountiful feast celebrating their harvest like we do today. As Governor William Bradford wrote that year, "instead of famine now God gave them plenty.”  This was the year that Bradford switched to a more capitalist system.

The Plymouth colony thrived. More people were born, and more people arrived from Europe. Soon, other colonies sprung up. It wouldn’t be long before English colonies filled the entire Eastern coast of North America...but that's another story.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."  - John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

"That all the People may with united Hearts on that Day express a just Sense of His unmerited Favors: Particularly in that it hath pleased Him, by His over ruling Providence to support us in a just and necessary War for the Defense of our Rights and Liberties; ...by defeating the Councils and evil Designs of our Enemies, and giving us Victory over their Troops -- and by the Continuance of that Union among these States, which by his Blessing, will be their future Strength and Glory." - Samuel Adams




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