By Richard Watkins
We all know the story. The Pilgrims came in 1620. Most of them died over the winter. The Native Americans showed up in the spring of 1621 and taught them a thing or two about farming. They had lots of corn by the fall. They shot some turkeys, had a big feast and everyone got along with each other in peace, harmony, and brotherhood. BAM! – your first Thanksgiving.
It’s a nice story, but it’s not exactly true. They didn’t eat turkey. There is no indication that it took place on a Thursday nor for that matter in November at all. It was really more of a “Harvest Celebration.” And the only real thanks that was going on was that they had more than just tree bark and pebbles to eat.
Now, for all the false narratives that have been pushed on us for the past 399 years that have led us to believe the Pilgrims were the forerunner to our current iteration of Thanksgiving, there is another event that took place some 1,588 years prior to the Pilgrims that has more accurate correlations to how and what we celebrate today that should, by all accounts, be considered the first Thanksgiving. That event was the Last Supper. Let’s consider, shall we?
A whole bunch of people showed up to eat: The Last Supper consisted of, obviously, at least 13 people; Jesus and his 12 disciples. Others probably included Jesus’ mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, the owner of the house and their family members, maybe even Martha and Mary and whoever else was still following Jesus at that time.
There was talk of politics: Jesus had been railing against the priests, scribes, and Pharisees for three years and was still a hot topic of conversation seeing as how they wanted to kill Jesus. On top of that, there was an active movement in Jerusalem at the time against Rome and people were on the edge, ready and waiting to explode. Not to mention that amongst the disciples, there was and internal jockeying for position as to which of the disciples was the greatest and deserved the seat next to Jesus (literally and figuratively).
There was gossip and rumors cast about the people in the room: Jesus told his disciples that one of them would betray him. Immediately, each one denied it would them and discussed amongst themselves who it could be.
Someone made a big announcement that shocked the room: Jesus revealed to his disciples that he was to die which was met with stunned outrage and disbelief (especially by Peter).
Someone got mad and stormed off: Judas, who was to betray Jesus, after being singled out, left the room, and ran straight to the Pharisees.
Someone finally reached as much as they could take and needed to be by himself: After leaving the room, Jesus traveled to Garden of Gethsemane to pray to God.
The ultimate “thanks” was given: The Last Supper introduced to us the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the wine. Eucharist is derived from the Greek word “eucharistia” which literally means thanksgiving.
As you can see, the events of the Last Supper more closely relate to how and what we celebrate as Thanksgiving today than anything attributed to the Pilgrims. Don’t believe me? Well, what do you think is more likely to happen this year at your Thanksgiving dinner? I bet there will be more talk of politics, more gossip and rumors, more big announcements, more people getting mad and storming out and more breaking points reached than Native Americans showing up with corn and fellowship.
And if you need more proof that the Last Supper is more like the Thanksgiving we celebrate today, here are two more: The Last Supper took place on a Thursday and the Detroit Lions lost 33-6.