3 Important Things to Remember from the First Thanksgiving

Vivian Bricker

Contributing Writer
Published: Nov 20, 2022
3 Important Things to Remember from the First Thanksgiving

We can learn from this first Thanksgiving that we, as believers, need to be accepting and helpful toward all people. We should not discriminate against others because they are different from us. God made all of us uniquely, and He loves each of us dearly.

With the upcoming Thanksgiving season approaching, there are many things we need to remember to be thankful for. While many of us recognize things we are thankful for in our daily lives, such as our family, friends, and a roof above our heads, many of us forget to remember the important things from the first Thanksgiving. Here are some of the important things to remember from the first Thanksgiving.

1. Thankfulness

When the pilgrims sailed from Plymouth and then landed in Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, they were extremely thankful. 

They had just sailed across the ocean a great length to land in America. In other words, they had risked their lives and the lives of their family and friends in order to come to this new land.

While many of us have to travel from our original home, not many of us are familiar with sailing on a ship thousands of miles from our birthplace to a new foreign land.

During this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we need to remember to be thankful for all the little things in our lives. While it is important to be thankful for the big things in life, such as God, our family, and friends, we need to be intentional about being thankful for all the little things too.

Little things to us might be big things to other individuals. As an example, my family and I have not been able to afford a dryer since I was in my early teens, so we have been hanging up our clothes to dry for over 10 years.

As someone who is not used to having a dryer, I am always extremely thankful for an opportunity to use a dryer rather than having my clothes and towels air dry. When you are trying to remember things to be thankful for this holiday season, try to remember all the little things.

To help you in thanking God, we created a 30 Days of Gratitude Prayer Guide HERE. Download and print this guide to keep with you as a reminder of God's love and promises.

2. Bravery

A second thing that is important to remember from the first Thanksgiving is bravery. Both the pilgrims and the Native Americans had to extend great bravery in their actions with one another.

While many individuals have different views surrounding the first Thanksgiving story, we can agree that both sides of the camp had to exercise great bravery. Pilgrims coming from Plymouth, England, most likely would have been terrified of going somewhere new, especially since it was so far from home.

While it is easy to recognize the fear in the heart of the pilgrims, we need to also recognize the fear in the hearts of the Native Americans. After the pilgrims came to the Native Americans' land, they brought many sicknesses with them, and it wiped out a great deal of the populace.

The illnesses and viruses that the pilgrims were already immune to — the Native Americans were not immune to. Therefore, the Native Americans had many of their own become sick and die because of the pilgrims coming over.

Various illnesses, such as smallpox, would have broken out among the Native Americans. From this point of view, we can ascertain how brave the Native Americans were with the new settlers.

3. Remembering Our History

If you live in America, most of our ancestry can be traced through the pilgrims coming over on the Mayflower. We can remember our history from the first Thanksgiving. Recently, I have become more interested in tracing my family history and the origins of our last name.

Knowing these facts can be quite interesting and help us to learn more about ourselves. By remembering the event of the first Thanksgiving, we can acknowledge the mistakes of our past.

Even though family classics present the first Thanksgiving as a joyful occasion, such as in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, it did not happen in this manner.

While it was a nice idea, historians have shown us the first Thanksgiving would not have been what we originally thought and hoped.

As previously mentioned, the first Thanksgiving would have caused great illnesses and diseases to run through the Native Americans. We cannot be dogmatic that the pilgrims were nice to the Native Americans, nor can we ascertain they ate at the same table to celebrate Thanksgiving.

For the first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims invited the Native Americans for a feast after they had harvested their corn crop. It is reported that over 100 people attended the first Thanksgiving.

The English pilgrims and the Native Americans ate separately as the pilgrims ate at tables and the Native Americans ate on the ground.

Even though the pilgrims and the Native Americans took part in this celebration together, there was no peace between these two people groups. On both sides, there were loved ones lost due to diseases and murders.

It is important to know these vital truths of the first Thanksgiving in order to be reminded of our past. Instead of being frightened or intimidated by others, we need to welcome all people without judgment.

When we welcome all people and love each other as Jesus commands, we are truly following Him. Jesus tells us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34).

A common issue in the modern day is discrimination. In a way, there were difficulties between the pilgrims and the Native Americans because of their differences. While there were most likely those who got along with one another, history tells us there were many problems, and much blood was spilled.

We can learn from this first Thanksgiving that we, as believers, need to be accepting and helpful toward all people. We should not discriminate against others because they are different from us. God made all of us uniquely, and He loves each of us dearly.

As Christians, we need to love one another as Christ loves us. In this Christlike love, we will not discriminate against one another, nor will we hurt one another out of discrimination, hatred, or fear.

Even though we have different pigments of skin, different hair colors, and different eye colors, we are all humans. We all feel the same emotions, and we all desire to be known and loved.

God wants us to do all we can to help others know this truth and to know the love He has for them, as shown through sending His Son into the world to save us from our sins (John 3:16-17).

By remembering the history of the original Thanksgiving, we will be less likely to repeat history. While many individuals would not kill or harm one another because of being different, there are many different ways a person can be discriminated against that can often hurt worse than being killed.

Discrimination, such as being looked down upon because of your age, not being able to get a job because of the color of your skin, or not being taken seriously because of your gender, are all active in the world today.

For many of us, simply thinking of the Thanksgiving table with all of our relatives is enough for us to go into a panic attack. The judgment, the questions we don't want to answer, and the glares are enough to send us into a downward spiral.

As believers, let's try our best to remember the history of the first Thanksgiving to help each Thanksgiving become better each year.

For further reading:

What Happened on the First Thanksgiving?

What Is the History of Thanksgiving?

Is Thanksgiving Truly a Christian Holiday?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/AlexRaths


Vivian Bricker loves Jesus, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master's degree in Christian Ministry with a deep academic emphasis in theology. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, reading, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, she is embarking on other adventures.

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