The REAL First Thanksgiving

November 2018 - Feature Article
by Rev. Kay Mortimer

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November 2018 - Feature Article

When you think of the first Thanksgiving, do you envision pilgrims and Indians in November of 1621?  Do you imagine them sharing corn and fowl on makeshift tables after their first harvest in the New Land?

But did “Thanksgiving” really start in America? Or did the first feast happen thousands of years ago and continue for well over a millennium?

Scripture tells us of several specific offerings required in the celebration and service of God’s Tabernacle and later, his temple. One of these offerings applies specifically to the concept of a Thanksgiving feast.

Leviticus describes a specific offering called the “Peace Offering.” To give this offering, a person must have the right heart attitude. “And if you offer a sacrifice of a peace offering to the Lord,” Leviticus 19:5 (NKJV) instructs, “you shall offer it of your own free will.” A corresponding New Testament reference calls this the offering of a “cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).

In these Old and New Testament passages, this gift signifies a thanksgiving offering given out of free will, with no coercion. The givers, filled with hearts of gratitude, joyously offer this with great delight and cheerfulness in honor and thanks for the gracious favor they have received.

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