As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I am reminded of the first thanksgiving. A small church had relocated their church family from England, to Holland, and then finally to the new world. They were compelled to find a place where they could worship God according to the Bible and to bring the Good News of Jesus to the remote parts of the earth. They arrived in the fall of 1620. One year later they gathered for the first Thanksgiving.
Did they thank God because life was easy and comfortable? No. Half of their church family died during the first winter they were here. Imagine HALF of your church family dying over the course of a single winter. At times, there were only 6 healthy people in their entire company. Yet, by the grace of God they had survived, and now the Lord had blessed them with their first harvest. They wrote, “Thus they found the Lord to be with them in all their ways, and to bless their outgoings and incomings, for which let His holy name have the praise forever, to all posterity.”
Thanksgiving is needed in our world and in our families right now. Not because life is easy, because it is not. Chaos, sickness, and the fear of death swirl around us. We can and should give thanks because God is on His throne. We can say, from Psalm 100, “Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
— Pslam 100: 3-5