Sunday, November 16, 2014
I am reminded of my old Massachusetts home at this time of year. Our family had a membership at Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. I took my children there many times. We wandered around the living museum observing costumed actors going about the historic daily life of the Pilgrims.
The settlement was right beside the ocean. The whipping sea winds made the cold Autumn weather icy and bitter. (Having lived most of my life at the ocean in a nearby town, I know how difficult the winter ocean air can be.) The simple homes the people lived in had fireplaces to keep them warm. Each house had only one room. They were like tiny cottages with a bed and a table. Each family: mother, father and children lived in their own cottage. I saw the hard work each had to do. There were gardens to cultivate, heavy clothing to wash, outdoor kitchens to work in, an abundance of wood to chop, and babies and children to take care of. This was all for survival. This was the beginning of a new life here in America for these foreigners. I often thought how much warmer and nicer life would have been if they had settled out in the mountains rather than by the cold ocean. But it was far too dangerous at the time.
On each of our many visits to the Plantation, we sat in their humble church. I was in awe. I love how the people themselves built the church using the nearby trees for building supplies. There were straight and plain benches for the congregation and a place in the front for the Minister. This was where he encouraged the people and inspired them to holy living so they could face the coming week ahead. This was where he preached and taught against sin and convicted their hearts and minds to stay on that precious heavenly path.
The journey the Pilgrims took to get to this country was treacherous. Have you seen the Mayflower ship? A short drive from the Plantation brings you to Plimouth Rock and the Ships for tourists. We have walked through the boat and have seen the living conditions, which tells me that those people had a strength of character and a moral endurance to accomplish something few of us today could manage.
Many died on that ocean voyage. Many also died before the first year on the Plantation. I am sure the Pilgrims prayed constantly for health and continued courage. The Bible was the most important book to them. They taught it to their children. They comforted one another with it's words. They lived it!
That first Thanksgiving was modeled after the Biblical time of feasting. The Pilgrims, who were deeply religious, most likely were inspired to do this from Leviticus 23: 34, which is the commandment for the Feast of Tabernacles (or "Sukkot"- meaning "booths" or "temporary dwellings"). This was a time to gather up the harvest to worship and thank God for his provision.
This time of year, many of us want to throw a large celebration. We might spend far more money on food than we can afford, and not even consider it's folly. The high cost of food makes many of us poor. For those who have farms and are growing their own apples and fruits, have their own turkeys, and grow their own vegetable - these are the people who can have a plenteous table with food grown for very little cost, with the work of their own hands. But for the rest, who have to buy every apple to make a pie, or have to buy the turkey and the potatoes and all the rest, far too much money can be easily spent. This is not the purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday.
In our home, I have to count the cost. I have to find the sales and "scour out the land" to make our Thanksgiving wonderful, but something we can afford. We will have our own family and guests as well. It will be a precious and delightful time. But I will host this in a manner in which I can afford, and with creativity and the works of our own hands. I will make what I can, and buy what I can afford. We mothers can make these special times because of our labor and prudence.
The Pilgrims were a humble people who sought after holiness. Their first Thanksgiving feast was a joyous time to enjoy the prosperity of an abundance of food the Lord had provided for them.
Let us follow their example despite a consumerist, ungodly culture around us.
From the Archives:
What Life is Like - Living Without Credit Cards.
Mother inspires the Family - The Cultured Society of Home.
Summer Days at the Estate - Walking the Gardens with Baby.
Mrs. White's special book for Homemakers - "Mother's Book of Home Economics."
An Invitation - Subscribe to The Legacy of Home and have it delivered directly to your email.