The Second Thanksgiving Celebration Preceded By A Miracle
This writer told a Native American man at a Native American Family Camp about the Restoring The Spirit Of The First Thanksgiving Project and he replied with these mistaken words: "Yea, but the Natives got slaughtered the next year". I then quickly responded with a rebuttal and told him how in the book THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY, the true story of the second Thanksgiving Celebration Day tells a very different story than he mistakenly believes. On the contrary, the godly Pilgrims had good prolonged relations with the First Nations People they were in contact with and their treaty with them lasted 40 years, but let us now look at the second time they celebrated an official Harvest Festival with the Indians two years later.
The writers of the book THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY (scroll down to purchase it from Amazon) were very careful with their research and did not try and hide the faults of the White People when they emerged, but through careful research these writers laid true history bare for all to see. They found out that the Second Thanksgiving Day followed a time of intense drought and was preceded by a miracle as the following account taken from the book: THE LIGHT AND THE GLORY will show you. This story will surprise you because many do not know about it and they do not know about the miracle which preceded the Second Thanksgiving Day Harvest Festival Celebration which continued to cement their good relationships with the First Nation People they were friends with.
It was the year 1623 and during the crucial period of the year that they needed rain the most, a dry spell continued for a total of twelve weeks. Not even the oldest Indians could remember ever seeing a long drought like that before. The Pilgrims felt that God was angry with them and so the disturbing idea that God was displeased with them and was witholding rain "moved not only every good man privately to enter into examination with his own estate between God and his conscience, and so to humiliation before Him, but also to humble ourselves together before the Lord by fasting and prayer. To that end, a day was appointed by public authority, and set apart from all other employments." (words of Edward Winslow in quotes from Young's Chronicles, pp. 347-350 and next paragraph also)
That day spoken of by Edward Winslow was an officially appointed day of fasting and prayer. Winslow continues speaking about that day: "But, O the mercy of God, who was as ready to hear, as we were to ask! For though in the morning, when we assembled together, the heavens were as clear and the drought as like to continue as it ever was, yet (our exercise continuing some eight or nine hours) before our departure, the weather was overcast, the clouds gathered on all sides. On the next morning distilled such soft, sweet and moderate showers of rain, continuing some fourteen days [!] and mixed with such seasonable weather, as it was hard to say whether our withered corn or drooping affections were most quickened or revived, such was the bounty and goodness of our God!"
The Pilgrim's Governor Bradford said about this miracle day of prolonged gentle rain: "It came, without either wind or thunder, or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith. Which did so apparently revive and quicken the decayed corn and other fruits, as was wonderful to see and made the Indians astonished to behold..." (quote from Bradford, Of Plimouth Plantation, p. 171)
"It had to have had a profound effect on the Indians! For while their own rain dances or the incantations of their medicine men did sometimes seem to have some effect, it is interesting to note the result, as Winslow comments: "...and all of them admired the goodness of our God towards us, that wrought so great a change in so short a time, showing the difference between their conjuration and our invocation on the name of God for rain, theirs being mixed with such storms and tempests, as sometimes, instead of doing them good, it layeth the corn flat on the ground, to their prejudice, but ours in so gentle and seasonable a manner, as they never observed the like." (Young's Chronicles, p. 350)
So after the rain returned and the corn revived "the yield that year was so abundant that the Pilgrims ended up with a surplus of corn, which they were able to use in trading that winter with the northern Indians, who had not had a good growing season. A second Day of Thanksgiving was planned, and this year there was even more reason to celebrate: their beloved Governor was to marry one Alice Southworth. Massasoit was again the guest of honor, and this time he brought his principal wife, three other sachems, and 120 braves! Fortunately he again brought venison and turkey, as well. (from book: LIGHT AND THE GLORY, p. 143 - you can purchase it from Amazon by scrolling down on this page)
The occasion was described by one of the Adventurers, Emanuel Altham, in a letter to his brother: "And now to say somewhat of the great cheer we had at the Governor's marriage. We had about twelve tasty venisons, besides others, pieces of roasted venison and other such good cheer in such quantities that I wish you some of our share. For here we have the best grapes that ever you saw, and the biggest, and divers sorts of plums and nuts...six goats, about fifty hogs and pigs, also divers hens ... A better country was never seen nor heard of, for here are a multitude of God's blessings. ("Emmanuel Altham to Sir Edward Altham," quoted in Sydney V. James, Jr.'s THREE VISITORS TO EARLY PLYMOUTH, pp. 23ff.)
It is not recorded, but I can imagine the Pilgrims using the answer to prayer, that was witnessed by their First Nation friends (Indian friends), as a platform to tell them about their wonderful God and his goodness. What Winslow said above seems to indicate this. There are two sources of supernatural power and this demonstration of God's provision of a gentle rain for fourteen days was like Elijah's demonstration of God's power before a people who called on forces of a different supernatural realm. The Pilgrim's answer to prayer was a working out of the kindness of God which is meant to lead men to repentance. I wonder how many of those Indians called upon the name of the Lord after that remarkable demonstration of answered prayer that took place before the official Second Thanksgiving day Celebration?!
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The First Thanksgiving Pilgrim's Original Story Ending: