“Enter the temple gates with praise, its courts with thanksgiving. Give thanks to God, bless his name; good indeed is the Lord, whose love endures forever, whose faithfulness lasts through every age.” Psalm 100:4-5
What are the chances that 102 pilgrims sailing from Plymouth, England in 1620 would encounter two English speaking Indians on the North American continent? These Indians, named Samoset and
Squanto, became instrumental in the pilgrims’ survival. They helped the pilgrims learn how to plant corn, catch fish, and trade with friendly Indian tribes.
Was God looking out for the pilgrims? Apparently the pilgrims thought so. At the end of the summer of 1621, after building new dwellings, planting and harvesting food to get them through the next winter, the pilgrims were “brimming over with gratitude” and Governor Bradford declared a day of public thanksgiving in October. (See The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel)
As our national day of Thanksgiving approaches this week, I pause to reflect on a long list of blessings:
- A Father God and his son Jesus Christ who love me and offer to dwell in me through the Holy Spirit, and give me purpose in loving and serving the people in my life.
- A loving wife of 56 years and a mutual love that grows deeper each year.
- A family of five children, three sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law and 13 grandchildren, all of whom have a genuine love for one another and are living out their Christian faith in their day to day lives.
- An adult daughter with special needs whose bright smile, hugs and inclination to love shows the rest of us the face of God.
- Christian friends from the People of Praise Christian community, Christians in Commerce, St. Marks Catholic Church and my neighborhood who would take a call at 3:00 AM if the need arose.
- Good health that allows me to continue to work, serve, love, and enjoy all these blessings.
- Meaningful work in business and ministry spanning over 50 years.
- Material blessings that are sufficient.
This list does not mean we are exempt from trials and challenges for who can escape them in this world. But we share the God of the pilgrims who calls us, strengthens us, and upholds us with his righteous hand.
What are you thankful for? Make a list and offer it up to God in thanksgiving.