“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 for which I am deeply thankful:
- 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 59 years and a mutual love that grows deeper each year.
- A family of five children, including three sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law and 13 grandchildren who are believing Christians and enjoy one another’s company.
- An adult daughter with Down syndrome whose bright smile, hugs and inclination to love shows the rest of us the face of God; and who recently started Coffee and Community after daily mass on Tuesdays and Thursdays at our local parish.
- Christian friends from the People of Praise community, Christians in Commerce, St. Marks Catholic Church and our neighborhood who would take a call at 3:00 A.M. if the need arose.
- A declining PSA after 38 sessions of proton radiation for recurrent prostate cancer.
- Meaningful work in business and ministry spanning 60 years.
- Material blessings that are sufficient.
This list does not mean we are exempt from trials and temptations, for who can escape them in this world. But we share the God of the pilgrims who calls us, strengthens us, and upholds us.
What are you thankful for? Make a list and offer it up to God in thanksgiving.