Published 10:25 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018
There is much present in what constitutes Lunenburg County that we have to be thankful for. God’s blessings are there, whether we think of them or not, and those blessings are probably most often experienced through the impact of people who live here. Please be sure to express your gratitude for these people during this season of thanksgiving as well as to the One who gives life to all.
Giving thanks is a practice that has been particularly significant in the state of Virginia. Historians have learned that Virginia was actually the site of America’s first English-speaking Thanksgiving. Below is an excerpt from H. Graham Woodlief’s “History of the First Thanksgiving” that is published at BerkeleyPlantation.com. The plantation is described on the website as Virginia’s most historic.
“As Clifford Dowdy noted in his book, The Great Plantation, the men were rowed ashore, placed their personal luggage on the hard ground, gazed at the woods enclosing them and listened to the complete silence. Then, at a command from Captain Woodlief, with which they were profoundly stirred to comply, the homesick men knelt on the dried grass to pray.
“As instructed by the London Company, Woodlief prayed: ‘We ordaine that this day of our ships arrival, at the place assigned for plantacon, in the land of Virginia, shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God.’
“You see, the Berkeley Company had given a very specific list of ten instructions to the settlers when they departed England. The very first instruction was upon landing that they give a prayer of Thanksgiving for their safe voyage and to do so annually and perpetually thereafter.
“America’s first official English-speaking Thanksgiving had just occurred, one year and 17 days before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts and almost two years before the pilgrims held a three-day Harvest Feast with their Native American friends, which is commonly thought today to be the first Thanksgiving.”
Being first is an interesting anecdote, but let’s focus on the part of this story that talks about giving thanks perpetually. That directly involves us. Let’s make sure we follow that instruction given back in 1619.