What is Thanksgiving about? We of course can make it about shopping, parades, family, food, harvest, football or travel. The American holiday can have a lot of different meanings for a lot of folks. The first Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims was not about those things so much as the providence of God. These survivors of a harsh environment were recognizing something that is not really an element of our modern way of looking at life. The idea that God controls and governs all of life is the idea of providence. It is the idea that our story is not the product of chance or created by ourselves. God is in control of all that is in our lives and how it comes about. For Abraham it meant not having a heir for years but then a son is born. This is the earthly mess that created was used to bring about a covenant from heaven. For Jacob it meant competition and struggles with his relatives; his brother and uncle. This is the earthly mess that established the 12 tribes of Israel. For David it meant successes in battle but failures in family life. This the earthly mess that brought us the line that would produce the King of kings who came down from heaven. For Isaiah it meant having a message but it being misunderstood. This is the earthly mess that foretold of the one who would come as a suffering servant. For the Pilgrims it meant struggling to survive in harsh condition with many dying. This is the earthly mess that brought about a people of faith. For myself it means many misguided steps on my part brought about failed attempts at lifelong goals. This is the earthly mess that has been a school of spiritual growth I could never have anticipated. God is guiding all these things that seem to be bad from an earthly point of view, but they bring about heavenly treasure.