“Celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress. Be joyful at your festival — you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levites, the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns. For seven days celebrate the festival to the Lord your God at the place the Lord will choose. For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”  — Deuteronomy 16: 13-15

I know that I have written about Thanksgiving before, but it is the beginning of my favorite season of the year! Also I am writing this on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which seems appropriate when considering the help that the Native Pokanoket gave the Pilgrims after their first grimm season in America. Alma and I are going to Massachusetts this week to visit the places my ancestors settled when they immigrated to this country.

When I was in grade school we always held a Thanksgiving pageant, and I enjoyed playing the part of either a Pilgrim, Indian, or a tree. In November 1620 the first Pilgrims landed on Cape Cod and a month later settled at Plymouth. During that first winter nearly half the settlers died. Early in 1621 the local Pokanoket helped the Pilgrims build better shelters and taught them how to plant corn and beans. After a successful harvest the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to pray and celebrate their success. The Pokanoket brought venison and turkey, the settlers brought geese, ducks and fish; after much preparation they all feasted on the meat and fish with journey cake, corn meal bread, nuts and succotash.

I am praying that you and your families have a wonderful holiday season.

Bob Beck, lay leader at his church, is Commander, District 13, Oregon Veterans of Foreign Wars.