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Posted by MDViews on November 28, 2008

In 1620, the separatist group of Puritans, called the Pilgrims, made their way ashore at Plymouth Rock starting one of the most famous adventures into the new world. Of course, modern understanding misses the most important aspects of that period of time, just like modern society misses the mark on Christmas and Easter.

The Pilgrims made such a voyage to escape religious persecution in Holland (that’s right–they had already escaped England). They faced a hostile land, in that the first winter saw so many die. But spring brought a productive association with the Indians leading to a large harvest in the fall. So they invited their new friends and for 3 days celebrated God’s providence giving thanks to Him.

They were quite politically incorrect. They gave thanks to God, not the Indians, because they knew God was in control and it was Him who brought the Indians into their lives. They preached the gospel to the Indians as they viewed them as pagans (which they were). They started out with a communal-type society, but soon realized they would fail without change, and so instituted the policy of no food for those who did not work. Also, they allowed private property and allowed those with private property to keep or sell the produce from it. No safety net for those who chose not to work. The church provided for widows, orphans and the infirm. No environmental studies before raising livestock or planting crops on their own ground.

From those radical ideas started the economic engine of America and our freedom from government interference with religion. The rest is history.

It is hard for me to imagine the struggle they faced. It was not romantic. It was dirty, hard, cold work from sun up to sun down. People then died from ailments we easily treat today. Yet, they recognized that God provided for them and to Him belonged praise and honor and thanks and glory.

I pray God will give my a thankful heart–for breath, for family, for His saving grace, for His call on my life. And I pray that the true spirit of thanksgiving will pervade our gathering this year.

I pray God will give me a heart of thanksgiving every day of the year.

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