The tune and lyrics are ringing in my ears and find me humming throughout the day. Meanwhile, the leaves that fall on my deck and yard remind me that plenty more of their counterparts still dwell in the tops of my trees awaiting their timely descent.
It’s fall. And it’s time for the holidays. Yes. Hard to believe, but that season–is here. With that, I thought it might be fun to do a bit of a recap on how we, as a country, actually got to Thanksgiving. A bit of a light History 101 if you will. So, here we go.
About 300 years after Jesus had departed the planet, a newer version of Christianity, and a very powerful religious movement was taking hold of Europe. It was called the Roman Catholic Church. Though the British Isles were introduced to, and for the most part, embraced Christianity first, by about 500 A.D, the Catholic faith made it’s mark when they founded something you may recall as the Arch Bishop of Canterbury. For the next┬áthousand years, the Catholic church would reign rather supreme.
1,000 years after Jesus, another man was about to make his mark. He wasn’t from the Mid-East, this man was from Iceland. His name was Leif Ericson. The son of an outlaw and settler, and the grandson of same as well.
When Leif was introduced to the King of Norway, he was also introduced to something else he hadn’t quite anticipated: Christianity.
As the story goes,while playing chess with King Olaf one day, the sovereign told Leif of how he used to also worship the gods Leif did. He then recalled to Leif how a horrid plague had struck Norway and how many of his subjects had died. Olaf detailed to Leif how he turned away from those gods and began to worship the living Christ. The king had been baptized along with thousands of Norwegians, and then the plague stopped.
Leif, not being very faithful to the Viking gods, became very interested in Christianity. He finally agreed to be baptized and accept this new faith. Departing Norway, he brought along a priest to spread the Christian faith to Greenland, his home at that particular time.
Like the leaves that quickly fall, while others at the tree top take a bit longer, the folks that arrived at the New World first weren’t the ones chosen to inherit the land, so to speak. It was all about timing, and we’ll talk about that a bit more in the days to come.
An adventurer at heart, Ericson soon set his ships toward the West where he successfully found land. But it wasn’t the area we refer to as present day America. It was more of the Newfoundland and Labrador areas (Canada). The year was about 1001 A.D.
The Vikings definitely made it to “The New World”, but they didn’t stay long. They had arrived only to find the biggest salmon they had ever seen and wonderful grapes. Though they felt they had discovered a land flowing with “milk and honey” they soon returned home. It would be a group of people that landed a bit more south, who were determined to stay and settle the area that would come some time much later. Stay tuned…
That’s about it for today.