There are no Thanksgiving traditions about twelve year old John Hooke. No
songs, no poems, no pilgrim lore. Yet of all the long forgotten stories
from the original 102 people aboard the Mayflower in 1620, maybe little
Johns is one we ought to remember.
When John Hookes father died, his mother signed an apprenticeship
agreement with a tailor, Isaac Allerton. This arrangement meant John was
under the tutelage of a master who would show him a trade, provide food and
clothing, and teach him about religion and faith.
Perhaps the faith and religion lessons were the most difficult. The next
year young John sailed with Allerton and his family on the Mayflower. John
died that first brutal winter in Plymouth.
Abraham Lincoln wrote in his proclamation of Thanksgiving as a National
Holiday in 1863, We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of
Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we
have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. How right Mr. Lincoln was, and is. Accustomed to the blessings of this world, its easy to lose a spirit of thankfulness and lose touch with the spirit of Thanksgiving.
When I was John Hookes age, I was singing, Over the river and through the woods... On Thanksgiving Day I was eating extra pie, waiting for the Dallas Cowboys, warming by the fire, or jumping in a pile of leaves. None of these things are wrong. In fact, thats what is right about
Thanksgiving. Thats the Thanksgiving Hooke. Its the peace Ive enjoyed that I must give thanks for. It is the bounty of Heaven. The love of family. The blessings of a gracious God.
His gift is that he reminds me of how rich I am.|
And the gift of a little apprentice boy. We know of no significant
contribution he made to the Mayflower mission. He did not sign the
Mayflower Compact. He likely had no choice but to get on board that boat.
Yet his gift is that he reminds me of how rich I am. John Hooke gives us
perspective, and calls us to search our hearts for the same measure of
sacrifice and an extra helping of thankfulness.
The Biblical word most like the old English concept of apprentice is
disciple. Here again is the Thanksgiving Hooke. Will we attach
ourselves to a master teacher, go where He goes, sail with Him to another
land in faith? Will we be pilgrims? Will we be apprentices of Jesus?
Maybe its enough today to ask, Will we be thankful?