How to be thankful- Lessons from a Pilgrim


392 years ago, 53 settlers gathered together to celebrate the blessings of the harvest, and the greater blessing of life itself. When they left home many months earlier they had numbered 102; a difficult voyage, a brutal winter and widespread disease had reduced their number nearly by half.

The events at Plymouth in 1621 have great personal significance for me, for the spiritual leader of the 53 was Elder William Brewster, a devout man and my eleventh great-grandfather. The three day feast he and his flock celebrated that fall is considered to be the first Thanksgiving. There is little original documentation of the feast, as only two primary sources remain. One of the records is that of Edward Winslow, a Pilgrim who wrote of the events to those in his homeland. He closed his account with these words- "And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

In his words are truths that are worth remembering when we gather with our loved ones this holiday.

1- It is not always plentiful. When we gather to feast, our gratitude increases when we consider that not everyone is as blessed, and that we may not always have been or may not always be as blessed ourselves.

2-"We are so far from want." We have been granted riches and plenty that are beyond the imagination of many alive today, blessings so great that it is difficult for us to even comprehend the poverty faced by others.

3- We have these blessings for one reason- The goodness of our God. Our blessings are not earned, are not the result of our effort or accomplishments. They are entirely the result of God's goodness. We are blessed not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

4- We should pray that others may also partake in the blessings we have received. Let us all take time to think of those less fortunate, pray God's blessings on them, and consider how we may share.