A Pilgrim Faith As we enter November, my thoughts turn towards Thanksgiving. I am reminded of the Pilgrim story and my childhood. Growing up, Thanksgiving was one of my favorite holidays. In particular, the story of the Pilgrims and their courageous journey to America inspired me. I wondered at their trek across the sea and pondered their strength as they forged with the natives to make a new home. In school, I looked forward to making multicolored turkey tails and paper boats of the Mayflower. And of course, every Thanksgiving I looked forward to our family’s turkey feast.
However, as a child, I never really thought much about the struggles the Pilgrims had to endure. How they were setting out away from everything they knew, away from the comfortable and predictable in order to flee the religious turmoil that had existed for them in their country. I didn’t consider the old stale food and cold conditions they endured on their boat ride. It didn’t dawn on me that several of their loved ones died during that first harsh Massachusetts winter.
Now that I am older and can appreciate what they went through, I am encouraged by the Pilgrim’s courage and fortitude; and I am humbled that they endured what they did so they could worship God and practice their faith freely.
In considering their hardship and what they endured, I understand better the power of faith. I can see that it was their faith in God that encouraged them through the stormy seas. It was their faith in Jesus that held them together as they buried their loved ones. It was their hope in the new Kingdom that helped them strive for a better existence. One cannot separate the Pilgrim’s accomplishments from their faith in God because it was their faith that helped them survive.
It was only natural that such a faithful people would look to God as the host of their good harvest and the provider of their feast the following autumn. And it is in their thanksgiving to God after such hardship that we understand how special they really were. We should look fondly upon their memory; and as Christians, we should take pride in the heritage of faith they set before us. They represent everything that Thanksgiving is all about and the perseverance our nation was founded upon.
With the pandemic, this year has been particular trying. The faith of the Pilgrims serves as inspiration that God will see us through. Although we might not be able to gather as we typically do, I hope that in our Thanksgiving dinners and prayers we can bring the Pilgrims spirit and faith into our households. I pray that we can share in the harvest of faith and expectation that our Pilgrim brothers and sisters have set before us. This year, we can be thankful for the many joys that God has provided and the hardships he has carried us through. In our common faith, we sit with the Pilgrims and share the great harvest before us giving praise to our wonderful and caring Lord for his good and bountiful provision.