Those who feel weary from the drivel of a politically correct culture can appreciate this fourth grader’s report on the origins of Thanksgiving:
The pilgrims came here seeking freedom from you know what.
When they landed, they gave thanks to you know who.
Because of them, we can worship each Sunday, you know where.
The familiar and difficult Mayflower voyage was exceeded only by the bitter winter the Pilgrims endured after landing at Plymouth Rock. Their rations fell to five kernels of corn per day as they prayed and struggled to survive. That first winter claimed half their lives. After their terrible losses, they reaped such a bountiful harvest in 1621 that they chose to offer a weeklong celebration in thanks to the Lord.
Even our politically correct culture, in the days after 9/11, tossed convention aside and sang with great appreciation: “God Bless America.” Churches filled to overflowing the following Sunday.
A heart of gratitude comes from one simple word—perspective. Loss makes us thankful for our blessings. And perspective can occur at any moment:
- The car accident you survived makes you thankful for the family who irritated you earlier in the day.
- After losing a job unexpectedly, you feel immense gratitude for the new position you have.
- The doctor’s report of cancer in remission causes you to view each new day as the blessing it is.
Matthew Henry, the Bible commentator, fell prey to robbers one day. That evening he made the following entry in his diary:
Let me be thankful—First, because I was never robbed before. Second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life. Third, because although they took my all, it was not much. And finally, because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed.
As Thanksgiving finds its way into our homes and families with turkey and dressing, potatoes and pies, and cakes and cranberries—let’s do more than thank “you know who” for “you know what.” Let’s remember the rich tradition the Pilgrims started and the hardships that pulled that gratitude from them.
Perspective still makes thankful hearts.
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15)
Picture credit: Library of Congress, Washington D.C.