Alexander's Column

The Hand of Providence

Mark Alexander · Nov. 24, 2010

The genuine spirit of Thanksgiving amid all the hustle and bustle

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” –Psalm 100:4-5

Thanksgiving, as introduced by European explorers and settlers in the “New World,” was a time set aside specifically for the purpose of giving thanks to our Creator for His manifold blessings.

The earliest record of a thanksgiving in America is 1541 by Spanish explorer Coronado at Palo Duro Canyon in what is now Texas. French Protestant colonists at Charlesfort (now Parris Island, South Carolina) held a thanksgiving service in 1564. In 1607, the Jamestown settlers held thanksgiving at Cape Henry, Virginia, and there are many other records of such hallowed observances.

The first call for an annual Thanksgiving was at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, in 1619, when Captain John Woodlief and 38 settlers aboard the ship Margaret, proclaimed, “Wee ordaine that the day of our ships arrivall at the place assigned for plantacion in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

The first “harvest feast,” however, was at Plymouth Colony in 1621, followed by a greater combined feast of Thanksgiving in 1623. Due to the fact that most history books following the War Between the States were written by Northern historians, it is that iconic event which is most directly associated with the current traditions for our national Day of Thanksgiving.

Please take a moment to read a full account of the First Harvest Feast and Thanksgiving, and the proclamations for those that followed. I recommend you also view this video from my colleague, Constitution scholar Matt Spalding, entitled “We still hold these truths.”

A Personal Note of Gratitude

Our family will be spending this Thanksgiving with extended family and friends in warm homes with plenty.

However, a note I received this morning, similar to others I have received in recent days from young men serving our nation, reminded me just how much we take for granted when our identities are tied up in who we are, what we do or how much we have, rather than in our God and Creator.

A young Army officer writes of the rigors of having sweated through his clothing in the field by day, and freezing as the temperatures plummeted by night: “My body was shivering uncontrollably from head to toe. Then the strangest thing happened. This hot spot started in my chest, literally, and started to spread. At first I thought this must be what it feels like to die of hypothermia, but it kept spreading until I was warm again. I was confused about what had just happened when it dawned on me: This is the time of day my mother prays for me.”

Those of us who have been in misery, only to be lifted up by the hand of Providence, understand what this young man and countless others like him have experienced through the power of prayer.

At the dawn of our nation, George Washington concluded, “The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this, that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith, and more than wicked, that has not gratitude enough to acknowledge his obligations.”

Please remember our Armed Forces and their families in your prayers this Thanksgiving. We owe them a great debt of gratitude.

Closer to home, we in our humble shop are also grateful to count you on the frontlines of the noble effort to restore the integrity of our Constitution and Rule of Law.

With your help, The Patriot Post is now one of the nation’s most effective advocates for liberty, the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and the promotion of free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are the premier journal for Essential Liberty activists, and our mission and operations are more vital now, than ever.

If you’re able, and have not already done so, I ask that you please take a minute to support our mission and operations with a contribution – however large or small – to The Patriot Post‘s Annual Campaign. (If you prefer to support us by mail, please use our printable donor form or print the donor guide below.)

I humbly thank you for the honor and privilege of serving you as editor and publisher of The Patriot Post. On behalf of your Patriot team and our National Advisory Committee, I wish you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and God’s blessings to you and your family.