The winter of 1620-21 was, by most accounts, pretty harsh. Of the 102 people who crossed the North Atlantic to the shores of northeastern North America 47 survived the first winter, due to disease exacerbated by cold and snowy weather.
Yet they endured. Their faith in God, in Jesus Christ, got them through that first winter.
Thankfully, they met a Native American by the name of Squanto. He spoke English and he taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and plant corn. He also may have been a Christian – at the very least he know about Jesus Christ, learning of Christ from Spanish Friars during his time in Spain.
The Pilgrims sought freedom to worship as they felt was right for them. They could not do that in Europe. So they made the difficult choice to find a new place to live.
150 years later, a country was formed in North America based partly on their faith ideas.
That we can now worship as we choose, in freedom and peace, is reason enough to give thanks to God today. But wait, there’s more! This land that the Pilgrims settled in, paving the way for a new nation, continues to yield a bounty of produce seldom seen elsewhere in the history of the planet. Nearly 400 years later we still have more than enough – to enjoy and to share with the world.
That’s what I’m thankful for this day.