There were 102 passengers on the original Mayflower. One year later, only 44 had survived the harsh conditions. Even Gov. William Bradford had lost his beloved wife.
And yet the Pilgrims gathered to give thanks.
After watching more than half of their friends and family members die in less than 365 days. Who does that??!
Only those who had found joy in spite of their circumstances, that’s who.
It is a choice to follow God’s word and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 is no different. “Give thanks in all circumstances…” says IN all circumstances … not because of them. I take great comfort in that!
As we are reminded in The Message, 1 Thess. 5:16-18 tells us, “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Jesus to live.”
In other words, find reasons to show some gratitude.
For me, I’m grateful for a safe warm home. It has an older kitchen I would love to demolish, but it’s clean-ish enough and fully functional. I got to spend a week in Guatemala last July with Compassion International. One step into a home with a dirt floor certainly changes one’s perspective.
My husband is goofy and drives me crazy sometimes. (And those feelings are mutual!) But we just celebrated 20 years together and for that I am so thankful. I’m close to several divorced women, and don’t take my marriage for granted.
My kids have ginormous needs to talk and an intense curiosity about the world, which means they’re constantly asking questions. And I am their go-to-gal. Often it’s at bedtime, when I find myself wiped from the day. But we’ve all grown closer this year and I know we’ve only got a few years left at home with our teenager. I’m grateful that for now, at least, they still trust me with their hearts.
Yes, there are many reasons to be thankful in my life.
But more than anything, the God of the Universe really came to our planet with a life-changing message. He really does pursue a personal relationship with us, which amazes me.
The Pilgrims knew that, too. They sought freedom to live out their strong Christian faith in a new land apart from government interference. And ultimately? That is what they found.
So this November, cheers to the pilgrims and their feast. I’m so very thankful they began this American tradition!
Thanksgiving shouldn’t just be about getting deals, or being grateful for having stuff. It’s about thanking Almighty God for the greatest deal EV-AH. And for gaining what we can’t lose for all eternity.
What about you? What reasons do you have to give thanks this year?