In 1620 a group of 104 members of a congregation booked passage on the Mayflower to go to the new world. The pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving a year later.
What happened to the group during the first year may be surprising. They landed in November. In December 4 of the group died. In January 8 more died. In February, another 17 died. In the month of March, 13 more died.
Before the first year was over 47, nearly half the group had died. In spite of the hardships, the pilgrims maintained an attitude of thanks. Governor William Bradford declared a day of thanksgiving to give thanks to God for His providential care.
We need more of that kind of attitude of thanksgiving today. Imagine today’s media presenting those facts. They would have demanded that Bradford “do something” to take care of the people.
Trial lawyers would have sued the owners of the Mayflower, the ship builders, and even the owners of the forests from which the trees for building the ships were harvested. Imagine the ACLU filing an injunction to prohibit the acknowledgement of God’s providential care.
The pilgrims faced and endured overwhelming obstacles and odds because they had a vision and purpose. They came for freedom and endured for freedom.
Freedom carries with it a great cost and responsibility. Freedom does not come easily. Ronald Reagan, taking a passage from the Bible, called America a shining city on a hill.
The road to gaining and maintaining freedom is not always an easy road. There must be a willingness to pay the price and persevere. There must be a burning hope and vision of living as a free people. There must be a willingness by leaders at the local, state, and federal level to stand firm and be a voice for liberty.
It is no coincidence that the pilgrims recognized and acknowledged God’s Providential Care. Our freedoms today are a direct result of a nation founded on the recognition and trust in God’s Providence.
This year we have much for which to give thanks to God for His providential care. We also have a great responsibility to continue to persevere for freedom – especially the freedom to recognize and acknowledge God’s providential care.
May God richly bless you and your family as you take time to remember His providential blessings in your life. Happy Thanksgiving.
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