Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

To Hell With Happy Holidays

Squanto: Patuxet Indian born around 1592, a hundred years after what? Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

1605 Squanto was captured, taken to England, treated well (as well as one can be treated while being held captive), taught English language and customs, the plan was to make him a guide for New World explorers

1614 during his return to America, Squanto was abducted and taken to Spain to be sold as a slave. Purchased by Franciscan Friars and eventually returned to the New World…1619.

Early 1620 he finally returns to the area of his birth, near what is now Plymouth, MA. Most of his kin had recently died from a disease thought to be brought by the Pilgrims, who had yet to land. The disease was most likely introduced by Europeans, but not by Columbus, who never actually reached America.

1620 Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock….since the Pilgrims had left England for The Netherlands a few years earlier to escape religious persecution, being burned at the stake and the like; it’s possible that Squanto had been in England more recently than they.

Squanto saw the ships and met them near the famous, chipped away by tourist, Plymouth Rock. He is the Indian given credit for teaching the Pilgrims to raise crops in the new world, particularly corn maize.

Without Squanto teaching the Pilgrims how to raise crops and translating to the natives, they probably die of starvation, exposure, or simply mistaken as  slave traders and slaughtered.

George Washington / Marquis de Lafayette

Everyone knows that Washington is the father of our country. He did not, by the way cut down a cherry tree. And most know that Washington was revered by the Native Americans and French because he could not be killed in battle. In fact, during various battles he had several horses shot out from under him, and his clothes and hat were frequently riddled with bullet holes but he was never wounded. But that’s not the difference of which I want to share.

Lafayette was an aristocrat and self-appointed French General and a good friend of General Washington. Lafayette was instrumental in getting the French to assist the Colonists in the war of independence. France was America’s first ally. Without the French, the Colonists lose the war of independence. The 4th of July is just another day. But that’s not the important thing about Lafayette.

The king of Spain gifted Washington with a Donkey and inspired Washington to begin breeding mules.

Lafayette, not to be outdone, gifted Washington with a prize black Jack. Washington became America’s first breeder of large mules. Most champion mules today can be traced back to Washington’s mammoth jack stock.

So, we can thank Washington and Lafayette for the Missouri Mule.

It’s Christmas

Speaking of Mules and Donkeys; it’s Christmas.

The most celebrated religious event in the entire World. Over 2 billion people do so. 9 of 10 Americans celebrate Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. Christ’s birth and life was foretold by hundreds of prophets over a period of several centuries before it came to pass.

Christ, the King, rode to town on a Donkey.

The prophet Zechariah wrote: “Behold, your king comes to you, triumphant and victorious. He is humble and riding on a donkey.” (Zech 9:9) Christ rode a Donkey. Who knows, it’s possible that Washington’s Jack was a descendant.

We no longer celebrate Washington’s birth; he’s lumped in with all of the other Presidents, some great, and some not so great. Consequently, there’s already a generation who never learn the details of Washington the man, the general, and the nearly immortal nature of the founding father of America.

Few have ever heard the name of Squanto or the providential nature of his being God’s life-saving provision for the Pilgrims. We learn about the Mayflower, the Mayflower compact, and the first Thanksgiving feast, but very little about the significance of Squanto.

The federal government’s first investment in public education was the purchase of and distribution of Bibles to every school in America. Bibles were the single line item on the first budget for public education. We’ve come a long way since then, in the wrong direction. It’s possible students today don’t learn about Squanto and George Washington because of the providential nature of their life. Teaching the details of these two men would be difficult without implying there is a God.

Christmas is the celebration of the fulfillment of an oft prophesied promise, the birth of Christ, the man who humbly set in motion a movement that would change the world and continues to do so, and will forever. The event occurred thousands of years ago, yet we still commemorate and celebrate. We will continue to celebrate Christmas so long as we keep Christ in Christmas.

Saying Merry Christmas keeps Christ in Christmas.

Christ’s birth occurred over 2000 years ago. He only lived on earth for 33 years. He’s one man, the son of God, who made an eternal difference available to all.

To Hell with Happy Holidays

For Me; It’s Merry Christmas

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