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On Thanksgiving day, before you eat your plentiful meal, gather your family around and begin the tradition of sharing five kernels of corn, using my instructions, which uniquely focus on the religious roots of this holiday.  See the instructions below –

Five Kernels of Corn Tradition

The pilgrims who settled at Plymouth in Massachusetts had fled England because they sought religious freedom from England, where worship was only lawful if within the walls of the Church of England.  Some of the pilgrims had even been imprisoned for wanting to worship in their own way.  The pilgrims bravely ventured to the New World for the freedom to worship and raise their family to worship God openly.  The pilgrims fled to the New World without realizing how difficult and dangerous their new life would be.  

Their new home was bitterly cold without shelters. Over half of the original group that came over to America died within the first year due to sickness and starvation.  Additionally, the pilgrims had not adjusted well to farming in their new climate, so they struggled to bring an adequate crop.  

Their lack of food was only made worse when a new shipload of sojourners arrived from England with no food and requested the community restock their boat with food for the journey back to Europe.  In 1623 after two harsh winters and a severe drought, the pilgrims went to God in prayer with a religious fast they called a Thanksgiving.  

During this holy day, they implored God to intervene and rescue them from their dire hunger and give them a plentiful harvest.  They also remembered God’s faithfulness and blessing to them in the past, as a way of building their faith for their current critical circumstances.  Miraculously, God answered their prayers that very evening as, “it began to rain with sweet and gentle showers which gave them cause of rejoicing and blessing God.’ (From William Bradford’s writings)

Legend indicates that before the plentiful harvest, the ration for food each day was only five kernels of corn.  We can remember our heritage from the Christian European pilgrims and learn from their example of gratitude in the  midst of hardship.  It is believed that the pilgrims recounted this story of God’s faithfulness with their children several years later when the crops were abundant.  The pilgrims started their subsequent meals after their Thanksgiving holiday by serving each person five kernels of corn as a reminder of what God had brought them through.  

Help instill counting your blessings and faith in God by instituting this symbol of heritage and trust in God’s faithfulness.  Give each guest to your Thanksgiving table five small kernels of dried corn.  Ask each person to name five things for which they are thankful.  You can also mention the following Scriptures as a short devotional on this day of Thanksgiving:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 

Ephesians 5:20 – “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Philippians 4:6 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

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