“…And always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15c)
November is the month in which we celebrate Thanksgiving. I know it is a great time for getting together with family, renewing acquaintances, and seeing how big the children have grown. It’s a time to be thankful for all the good things we enjoy. But, do we ever think about that first Thanksgiving?
The pilgrims came to this country to escape religious persecution in England. Those brave, courageous families that came to this country did so at great personal cost and expense. They first escaped to Holland from England, many leaving their wives and children behind; not knowing whether they would ever see them again! They travelled across the sea in two ships, The Mayflower and the Speedwell. The Speedwell kept leaking and was forced to return to port twice. The Mayflower continued alone. Of the 102 passengers aboard the Mayflower, only 53 survived.
They arrived with NOTHING. They had to build the houses their families would live in; learn to raise their own crops and livestock; establish a self-governing colony organized to be law-abiding and efficient – Why? What made them make such a sacrifice? What made them leave everything behind? They were seeking a place where they could worship God freely!
Imagine them standing to say grace at that first Thanksgiving. Yes, they experienced loss; personal and financial. They experienced pain; loved ones had died. BUT THEY WERE THANKFUL! They had their FAITH. They had FREEDOM to express it and train up their children in it! …and they were thankful.
What do you have to be thankful about this Season?
Sometimes we have difficulty being thankful in the midst of problems and challenges. When we experience pain, we have difficulty being thankful. Usually, we are thankful when almost everything in our lives is, at least, OK. The Pilgrims were thankful REGARDLESS of the hardships and pain they experienced. Can we be thankful as well? Are we free to worship? So far, yes. Let’s be thankful. Do we have family and loved ones around us? Let’s be thankful. Do we have strength to seek employment? Let’s be thankful for that.
Our verse tells us to be thankful. However, thankfulness flows from a heart where peace dwells. Peace dwells in a heart where the presence of Christ abides. That enables us to live in peace, no matter what the circumstances. As a result, we can always be thankful.