The Thanksgiving before the First Thanksgiving

It probably didn't look overly much like Charles Lucy's Landing of the Pilgrim Fathers

The Mayflower pilgrims anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor on the south side of the Cape Cod hook on November 11, 1620 (November 20 by our calendar). When a party waded ashore, William Bradford wrote some years later: they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over [Read More...]

This Thanksgiving, Stop Idolizing the Pilgrims

A couple of years ago at Christianity Today, I reviewed Robert Tracy McKenzie’s excellent book The First Thanksgiving. Here’s a sample: In 1623, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford proclaimed the first Thanksgiving. “The great Father,” he declared, “has given us this year an abundant harvest…and granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.” [Read More...]

Not All Turkey and Touchdowns

My Thanksgiving column, from the Patheos archives: The Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony weren’t the first Europeans to settle in North America, nor were they the first permanent English colonists. But because of our annual celebration of Thanksgiving, and our hazy images of their 1621 meal with Native Americans, the Pilgrims have become the emblematic colonists [Read More...]

Where Was California at the First Thanksgiving?

This summer our family traveled to southern California, a first trip to San Diego.  Our children clambered through tide pools on Point Loma peninsula at the Cabrillo monument.  This National Park honors Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, the first European to alight in 1542 on the west coast of what is now the United States of America. [Read More...]