A Day of Thanks | Jim Daly

With the economy still in turmoil and unemployment numbers struggling to right themselves, gratitude may be in short supply for many Americans this year. The first Pilgrims also experienced great hardships. But their answer is instructive.

The Pilgrims’ effort to colonize America was fraught with challenge from their setting foot on the Mayflower. The journey across the Atlantic Ocean took 65 days in cold, wet, and miserable conditions. Many of the passengers fell ill, and one person died before they reached the shore of their new home.

When their ship docked in Plymouth in mid-November, their troubles were just beginning. Winter was upon them, and the cold and snow thwarted their efforts to build a settlement. More than 100 Pilgrims arrived in the new land, but less than 50 survived the harsh winter. Despite this difficulty, the governor of the Pilgrims, William Bradford, proclaimed a day to give thanks to God for His grace and provision.

What a lesson for us today. Despite all the Pilgrims lost and the terrible conditions they endured, they were still thankful for what they had – no matter how little or how much. Their sense of gratitude has increased through their trials, will not decrease.

Americans as a whole have faced incredible challenges in the past few years. Maybe everyone has your own battles to fight. But the spirit of our country is strong, and God deserves our thanks for helping us.

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