Last year we were living in New England and we went down to the Plimouth Plantation around Thanksgiving. The re-created village made the lives of those first settlers all the more real. Dark, cramped shacks with little ventilation from fireplaces, huddled together for life and liberty made their sacrifices almost tangible. Leaving all they had once known to make a fresh life where they and their future generations might be free to worship God required much from them. The trip over was difficult. A little more than 130 people (crew and colonists) fit on a ship that to me looked like it could fit 25 comfortably, 50 reasonably, but certainly not the numbers they carried - with supplies, cargo, food and livestock as well! After the arduous 65 day journey, it is recorded that William Brewster led the pilgrims in the reading of Psalm 100:
In light of all their hardships and losses I was struck afresh by their attitude of thankfulness. I was and still am amazed at their steadfast faith. They didn't endure the loss of life and comforts only to turn with distrust and hurt away from God. They did not allow their questions, pain or loss to define God. Their faith in His goodness, love and sovereignty are captured in their writings, journals and prayerbooks.
This Thanksgiving, I pray that my gratitude might be rooted in the character and nature of God more than my ever-changing circumstances--and it’s my prayer for you too. Out of all that has been this last year, our plenty and our loss, may we see the small beginnings of God doing something good and great within and through us. And in our gratitude may our lives be a bright light declaring the praise and glory of our Lord’s name!
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