Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Five Kernels of Corn: A Thanksgiving Tradition

The story is that when the Pilgrims came to America they had their first Thanksgiving in the fall, but grossly overestimated the amount of food they would need to make it through the winter. On top of that another ship came with 35 more people to feed without more provisions. They did not have the proper fishing or hunting equipment and during the winter the game was harder to find. The eventually got down to a daily ration of 5 kernels of corn a piece. The story says that from that time on each harvest they placed 5 kernels of corn on the first coarse plate and took turns giving thanks for 5 things.

It is hard to imagine having to live off of 5 kernels of corn a day. With our land of plenty, and in many times excess, we just cannot grasp what true hunger and struggling to survive can entail. I hope that as we celebrate all that God has provided and done for us you will take a moment to reflect on just how blessed we are. It may not be financially, but we can be thankful for our health, or family, or salvation. The Bible teaches us in Phillipians 4:8 that whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.

You can add this custom into your Thanksgiving meal. Put 5 kernels of corn at each place setting this Thanksgiving. Each person around the table takes turns holding up a kernel and giving thanks for something. There is also a poem written by Lori Harris:

Twas the year of the famine in Plymouth of old,
The ice and the snow from the thatched roofs had rolled;
Through the warm purple skies steered the geese o'er the seas,
And the woodpecker tapped inthe clocks of the trees;
And the boughs on the slopes to the south winds lay bare,
and dreaming of summer, the buds swelled in the air.
The pale Pilgrims welcomed each reddening morn;
There were left but for rations Five Kernels of Corn.
Five Kernels of Corn!
Five Kernels of Corn!
But to Bradford a feast were Five Kernels of Corn!

"Five Kernels of Corn! Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye people, be glad for Five Kernels of Corn!"
So Bradford cried out on bleak Burial Hill,
And the thin women stood in their doors, white and still.
"Lo, the harbor of Plymouth rolls bright in the spring,
The maples grow red, and the wood robins sing.
The west wind is blowing, and fading the snow,
And the pleasant pines sing, and the arbutuses blow.
Five Kernels of Corn!
FiveKernels of Corn!
To each one be given Five Kernels of Corn."

O Bradford of Austerfield hast on the way,
The went winds areblowint o'er Provincetown Bay,
The white avens bloom, but the pine domes are chill,
And new graves have furrowed Precisioners Hill!
"Give thanks all ye people, the warm skies have come,
The hilltops are sunny, and green grows the holm,
And the trumpets of winds, and the white March is gone,
Five Kernels of Corn!

Five Kernels of Corn!
Ye have for Thanksgiving Five Kernels of Corn!

"The raven's gift eat and be humble and pray,
A new light is breaking and Truth leads your way;
One taper a thousand shall kindle, rejoice
That to you has been given the wilderness voice!"
O Bradford of Austerfield, daring the wave,
Andsafe through the sounding blasts leading the brave,
Of deeds such as thine was the free nation born,
And the festal would sings the "FiveKernels of Corn!"
Five Kernels of Corn!
FIve Kernels of Corn!
The nation gives thanks for Five Kernels of Corn!
To the Thanksgiving Feast bring Five Kernels of Corn!

1 comment:

Braden said...

Hey, I loved your comment on my blog. It sounds like you're one blessed girl! Our youngest's birth mom was a little homeless girl. I know we'll never be able to find her. Every time I look at Nate I am overcome with how lucky he is. I don't think he would still be alive if Christina had kept him. Braden found his b-mom a couple of years ago and it was a wonderful experience. Your comment will make Kelly feel better, waiting is so hard. Thanks again.