Now that we’re living in the United States, stories of the Pilgrims in the 1600s come to the forefront on Thanksgiving Day. Virginia & Neil Lettinga, presently the transitional pastors at Telkwa CRC, heightened our appreciation of the history of this American holiday…
The Pilgrims arrived in New England in November 1620 – a bad time of year for settling in. The winter was so harsh and unforgiving that they must have wondered whether they actually landed in Canada! Although the harvest the following year was substantial, less than half of the people who arrived the year prior lived to see it. Life for the Pilgrims was hard and the future was anything but promising.
Nevertheless, in 1621, the Pilgrims decided to gather for the first Thanksgiving on American soil. They gave thanks despite a bleak year of illnesses, deaths, and dearth.
What a model for us: Choosing to give thanks regardless of circumstances. Do we give thanks only for the things God has given us (as appropriate as that is)? Or does our thankfulness center on who God is and His promises for us, promises fulfilled in Jesus? If we focus on our circumstances, our ongoing thanksgiving will be sporadic and haphazard; focusing on God’s faithfulness inspires “giv[ing] thanks in all circumstances” as the apostle Paul directs.