In 1608 a group of disgruntled Protestant conservatives from the village of Scrooby, Notinghamshire, left England and moved to Leyden, a town in Holland. These self proclaimed “Saints” did not want to pledge allegiance to the Church of England which they believed was nearly as corrupt and idolatrous as the Roman Catholic Church at the time.
The worldly lifestyle of Holland began to influence and take their toll on the separatist youngsters, so the separatists from the Church of England began looking for a option where their worship of God and lifestyle would be without corrupted influences.
In 1620, a group of 40 Protestant separatists included in a group of 102 brave souls set out for the New World. After a challenging trip across the Atlantic Ocean, the adventurers landed at Plymouth Rock. The separatists hoped to establish a new church in the New World.
The timing could not have been worse since the unforgiving New England winter quickly descended upon the fledgling group who spend the vast majority of the time on their small ship that made the voyage. Tragically, disease and starvation took half of the people before they saw their first New England spring.http://christiananswers.net/q-wall/wal-g007.html
Divine providence began smiling on the group as the remaining potential settlers were astounded to be greeted by an Abenaki Indian who spoke English. The Abenaki and other tribes took pity on the group and showed them how to farm and etch out a manageable existence.
Later in the autumn of 1621, the colonists and Wampanoag Indians came together for a fall feast that is acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgivings.
Centuries later during America’s darkest time of the Civil War in 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed each November. There was squabbling over the years regarding the value of having a national day of thanks, however Lincoln’s declaration helped solidify the effort to have a day of thanks to God.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony eventually absorbed the Plymouth separatists into their settlement. The Puritans represented the Protestant theology of the Massachusetts Bay Colony where they attempted to affect change within the Church of England. The “pilgrims” represented the separatist movement away from the Church of England.
Regardless of the rough beginnings, Thanksgiving evolved into a national day of recognition to God for the blessings bestowed on America then and now.