An important part of American heritage is the story of the group of British Christians who fled persecution and planted the Plymouth Colony in what is now Massachusetts.
It was a daunting task to settle in such an undeveloped area, and the Pilgrims were ill-equipped. Their first winter in Plymouth, half of them died from disease and inadequate supplies.
Things were so bad that they had to ration their supply of corn to five kernels per person per day.
Several years later when crops were abundant, the Pilgrims started their Thanksgiving celebration by serving each person five kernels of corn as a reminder of what God had brought them through.
They understood what Paul meant when he wrote:
“I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything with the help of Christ who gives me the strength I need.” Philippians 4:12-13
Whether they were struggling through lean times or enjoying abundance, they knew they could trust God’s strength to get them through.
Before our Thanksgiving meal, I serve five kernels of corn to remember our pilgrim heritage and God’s faithfulness. Why not make this your tradition too?
Resource: David Manuel and Peter Marshall, The Light and the Glory (Fleming Revell, NJ, 1977).