“Measured by the standards of men of their time, [the Pilgrims] were the humble of the earth. Measured by later accomplishments, they were the mighty. In appearance weak and persecuted they came – rejected, despised – an insignificant band; in reality strong and independent, a mighty host of whom the world was not worthy, destined to free mankind.” – President Calvin CoolidgeAbout 110 people arrived on coastal Massachusetts in the cold of late Fall 1620. Fewer than 50 of the Mayflower “Pilgrims” would survive the winter. But the Lord had a plan. In March 1621 an “Indian” named Samoset stepped out of the woods and to the surprise of the Pilgrims, said “Welcome” in English. Samoset, an Algonquin chief, had learned English from fishing ships that sometimes landed on the coast.
Samoset returned with another English speaking native named Tisquantum, also called Squanto. Squanto had been captured and taken to England in 1609, and spoke English well. In addition, he had been converted to Christianity. He returned to North America with Captain John Smith in 1614. When Squanto returned to the land of his tribe, he found it deserted. Other tribes told him of a mysterious disease that wiped out the entire group of people. The land where the tribe of Squanto lived was avoided by the other tribes. Cleared, uninhabited and claimed by no one, this is exactly where the Lord caused the Pilgrims to arrive.
A blessing from the Lord, Squanto stayed with the Pilgrims and showed them how to stalk deer, catch eels, plant corn and refine maple syrup. As a result, the remaining Pilgrims survived the Winter of 1620 and were better prepared for the following winter. They were extremely grateful to God and to Squanto and the neighboring Wampanoag tribe. Governor Bradford declared a day of thanksgiving, and invited Massasoit, the Wampanoags’ chief.
To their dismay, Massasoit showed up with 90 other warriors! But they had brought food with them; five deer and numerous turkeys. The celebration lasted for days. There was feasting and games (no football). The Wampanoags taught the Pilgrims the art of making popcorn and the Pilgrims introduced the Indians to fruit pies.
The wonderful, gracious provision of the Lord was clearly demonstrated here. That the very spot where the Pilgrims landed was already cleared and unclaimed was not a coincidence. That Squanto was taken to England, learned the language, became a Christian and returned to his homeland to find it vacant was not a coincidence. The provision of God is marvelous, and He is to be praised always.
We acknowledge that we are very blessed here in the United States. Praise the Lord this Thanksgiving Day. May His wonderful name be praised forever!