The Story of Thanksgiving

In 1620 120 people boarded two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, for the "New World". After 64 days difficult journey the Mayflower was to be the only ship to reach the "New World" and the number of people had been greatly reduced. Despite these facts and the fact that many of them were in poor health, they had arrived too late to plant and harvest a crop and were facing many other difficulties they learnt a very important lesson which has become true heritage to many people - that of thanksgiving. By the end of that winter only a quarter of their number remained, their shelter had not been enough to protect them from the harsh weather conditions and a number of times they had suffered attacks from the natives of the land. It was at the end of this dark, cold winter that the few colonists that remained got together and instituted the tradition of Thanksgiving. They met to review where they were at and what had happened, and although the circumstances looked very grim, one of their number encouraged them, "Yes, all that is so.

We can hang our heads and say, 'Oh woe for us', or we can have the attitude that we made a decision, we are here, let's look again and let's look for some good things, and let's make the best of what we have. Let's be thankful, let's be joyful and let's make this grand adventure work." So it was that they came up with a new list, a list of things they could be grateful for. Instead of focusing on the negative these Pilgrim Fathers learnt that we could learn to focus on the positive and give thanks no matter what the circumstances are that face us.

Instead of grumbling and complaining we could be thankful for those blessings that we do have. This day of thanksgiving marked a turning point in the history of the colonists and in the making of our nation, America. With thanksgiving, hard work, the grace of God and help from the Native Americans their colony grew and flourished and they were able to lay the foundations of democracy and freedom. They not only kept this thanksgiving to themselves but held a party each year at harvest time for all the other colonists and so began the tradition of having a day of thanksgiving each year which has now spread from those original few colonists to millions of people worldwide.

Why not take some time today to give thanks, keep a gratitude journal or spend time with friends and family discussing the things you can be thankful for. If the original colonists could come up with a list of 100 things to be thankful for, how many more can we be thankful for today? Why limit this positive attitude of thanksgiving to the festival of Thanksgiving once a year? Let's try each and every day to fill our lives with gratitude.

John Dealey is a self-made millionaire and best selling author. One of the books he is proudest of is "Words that have changed lives". To learn more about John Dealey and get access to material on Business Success, Prayer, Gratitude, Love and more visit

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