Holidays, traditions, family … Thanksgiving is one of the best days of the year. We enjoy eating lots and lots of food, watching parades and football games and spending time with relatives that we don’t get to see all the time. Hopefully, in the middle of all that fun, you will spend some time reflecting on your blessings and the things for which you are thankful.
Admittedly, some years it is easier to focus on our blessings. Some of you may have experienced severe loss this past year. Psychologists tell us that many people suffer from depression during Thanksgiving. There is a tendency to mourn over what could have been or what should have been which makes it hard to enjoy what we have now. It is easy to minimize our blessings because life doesn’t look like we think it should.
As I started thinking about this, I thought about the first Thanksgiving. Here is the traditional American view of that special day:
happy little plump pilgrims sitting at a table with fresh white linens, carving the perfect turkey with a smiling Squanto by their side – life was just perfect for them … or was it?
Let’s review the previous year for the pilgrims:
- They moved away from everything that was familiar. They left families, friends, jobs and all security.
- After two aborted attempts, they finally got started on their journey which lasted for 66 days on the rough sea.
- There were 102 people on the Mayflower, whose hull was just 90 feet long (just 10 feet longer than a standard tennis court).
- They weren’t able to land in their desired spot and struggled to find a suitable landing spot.
- The spent the next winter still on the ship because they didn’t have time to build shelters before winter hit.
- They suffered from pneumonia, scurvy and starvation.
- Over half of the original group died during the first winter.
- They struggled to grow crops until they met Samoset and Squanto, who quite literally saved the colony.
In spite of all that, they set aside a day to be thankful. They chose to be thankful. They chose to focus on what they had instead of what they had lost. They chose to be strong and look forward instead of looking back.
Even if life is hard right now, let me encourage you to choose to be like those pilgrims. In spite of all the hard things going on in life, there are still things that are positive. God loves you and has a plan for you. He can use those trials and struggles to make you stronger.I hope you are able to find joy in life and be thankful for what you have! Click To Tweet