Providence — that’s another “churchy” word. It basically means seeing the hand of God maneuver what happens on earth. Some say miracles. Some say coincidences. But if you truly believe in God, you know that there are no such things as coincidences! Here’s the dictionary definition:
prov·i·dence| ˈprävədəns | noun
The protective care of God or of nature as a spiritual power: they found their trust in divine providence to be a source of comfort.
• (Providence) God or nature as providing protective or spiritual care: I live out my life as Providence decrees.
• Timely preparation for future eventualities: it was considered a duty to encourage providence.
ORIGIN late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin providentia, from providere ‘foresee, attend to’ (see provide).
Why do they have to stick “nature” in there? It’s from God. Period.
400 Years Ago — The Mayflower
The Pilgrims — Puritan Separatists — (see the video at the bottom on their history), lived in England at the time of Queen Elizabeth (r. 1558-1603). She, like all English monarchs, considered herself the head of the Church of England (Anglican). The pastor of the Puritans said that Jesus was the head of the church — which is the truth! (It’s not the Pope either!) The queen had him killed.
The Puritans then fled to Holland. They were there for a few years, until — now there may have been 2 reasons — why they left for England to board the Mayflower to America:
- Religious persecution
- Running from the materialistic Dutch culture — running to holiness
They wanted to worship God in their own way and raise their children in a Biblical way.
The Mayflower was a small ship. For whatever reason, they took a broken printing press (it was not in working order) with them. There were 102 Pilgrims and 33 crew. It took them 66 days — twice as long as it took Columbus to reach the Caribbean in his first voyage. During a violent storm, the main beam of the ship cracked. They used the jack screw of the broken printing press — that they just happened to have brought along — to support the main beam. Providence.
They were originally headed to the settlement in Virginia. Some say it was the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (known as Manhattan today). However, that storm blew them to north to Massachusetts.
400th Anniversary of the Mayflower Compact
On November 11, 1620, the Mayflower Compact was the first agreement between the settlers of New Plymouth:
IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.The Avalon Project
The Mayflower II Refurbished Arrives at Plymouth in time for the 400th Anniversary
Native Americans Who Spoke English
Since they didn’t land where they expected, the Pilgrims had to make do with what they brought with them. They tried to plant the seeds they brought from England, but they didn’t grow. They, however, found an abandoned Native American village where apparently everyone had died of some disease. Providentially, they found stores of corn and other dried food items.
Along comes Squanto and Samoset. Lo and behold, they speak English! Samoset learned the language from sailors and fishermen. Squanto was captured as a youth and taken to Spain and later England. You can read his story in this book by Eric Metaxas, which is available free on Hoopla through your public library.
Squanto showed the Pilgrims how to plant corn and other local crops. William Bradford called Squanto “a special instrument sent of God”. Providence.
The First Thanksgiving — 1621
So, next year, 2021, will be the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving. Because of Squanto’s help, the Pilgrims had a great harvest the next year. They hunted fowl — turkey, partridge or duck. Besides corn, they also had onions, bread, arugula and spinach, along with fish and lobster, which were plentiful.
It wasn’t until 1860 that the editor of a women’s magazine, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. President Abraham Lincoln made it so in 1863.
God’s Protection and Providence
The Pilgrims were instruments, not authors of a mysterious master plan of God’s Providence.
A COVID Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving 2020 will be like no other thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. The famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on, but it will be shorter — only 1 block — 34th Street, with no spectators and no people walking with the balloons and floats.
For those of you in America who don’t live in very restrictive states, you may want to follow Dr. Fauci’s advice…
“Each individual family needs to make the decision based upon the risk situation in your own family.”Dr. Fauci
As for me, I will do like I did last year — fast and pray. I am food sensitive (gluten-free and dairy-free) to just about everything in a typical Thanksgiving meal. The only thing I can eat is turkey — no gravy — and cranberry sauce. I’d have to cook and bring my own of everything else. I turn down several invitations. No thanks, I’ll fast and pray and thank God for His providence in my life this year.
This article and podcast kicks off the next few days until Thanksgiving as a series on gratitude. We shouldn’t wait to thank God once a year! We need to thank Him daily — several times a day! I hope to help guide you in making gratitude a new habit.