Did you know there is actually a debate about the first Thanksgiving? The most common story, of course, involves the Pilgrims who came to Massachusetts in 1620. After a long harsh winter, nearly half the colony died by spring. After a good harvest and friendship with the Native Americans, the Pilgrims prayed, thanked God and had a three-day feast in 1621. At least that is the prevailing story.

Virginians have a different story. They say that as early as 1607, Thanksgiving celebrations were held in Jamestown and an official declaration was made by settlers at Berkeley Hundred, not far from Jamestown in 1609. They wrote in their charter, “that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

I guess it doesn’t matter how it’s said. We just need to keep alive the tradition of thanking God, the only holiday created for the celebration of an attitude.

Mike Shannon is dean of the Russell School of Ministry and professor of preaching at Cincinnati Christian University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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