To many Americans Thanksgiving Day means sumptuous turkey dinners, family reunions and football games. Most seem to forget that the very name of this traditional holiday means to give thanks. But give thanks to whom? For what? And why? In 1630 the little 350-ton Arbella was plowing westward through the rough Atlantic to the Massachusetts coast. From its deck John Winthrop preached a striking sermon. "Wee shall be," prophesied Winthrop, "as a Citty upon a Hill, the Eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke we have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a by-word through the world." Those are remarkable words! They indicate that at least some of the early colonists sensed that their endeavors were being favored by the hand of God. They seemed to understand that they were being given very special opportunities, special blessing – and special responsibilities.
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