My daughter and I recently had the delight of reading Mary’s First Thanksgiving, a picture book Kathy-jo Wargin.
In this book Wargin tells a story about a young girl named Mary and her family’s first Thanksgiving as American colonists in the early 1800’s.
Based on historical events, this sweet story draws from a speech that Daniel Webster gave in 1820 at the bicentennial celebration of the Pilgrims’ landing at Plymouth Rock.
According to Wargin’s book a banquet followed Webster’s speech and, per his request, five kernels of corn were placed at each setting. These five kernels were to represent the “starving time,” that our nation’s first settlers endured and also sybolized five special blessings.
“The first kernel represented the beauty and bounty of autumn. The second kernel represented their love for one another. The third kernel represented their love for their families. The fourth kernel represented their friendship with the Native Americans. The fifth kernel represented their freedom to worship God without fear.” (From Mary’s First Thanksgiving)
Five kernels. Five blessings. Beauty. Community. Family. Friendship. And faith. Almost 200 years later these blessings continue to remind us what Thanksgiving is all about.
I love Thanksgiving, and each year I enjoy celebrating my own traditions. Wearing my grandmother’s turkey apron, baking my Aunt Becky’s mac-n-cheese, and singing The Doxology before Thanksgiving dinner are three of my favorites.
This year I’m excited to add the Five Kernel Tradition to my family’s Thanksgiving. I hope this new tradition will encourage each guest at my table to remember those less fortunate, reflect on all we’ve been given, and give thanks for each of these sacred blessings.
Whether it’s through five kernels of corn or another tradition your family holds dear, may the blessings of beauty, community, family, friendship, and faith fill your Thanksgiving, your heart, and your home with gratitude and joy.
What traditions typically make your Thanksgiving special? I’d love to hear from you!