Thanking God in the Midst of Want
As the national Thanksgiving Day approaches, we do well to remember the spiritual roots of this as a holy day. In fact, some schools now seem to omit any religious significance to the event at all. Yet, the Pilgrim Fathers came to America as pilgrims, religious refugees, seeking not only the freedom to worship in a new land but believing that they had a God-ordained mission to fulfill.
After a fateful voyage, a bitter winter and the death or defection of over half their numbers, the Pilgrims gathered to give thanks to God. They thanked him that they had survived the harshness of the past year. Rather than become embittered over their experiences, they anchored themselves firmly in God’s providence for the future.
Today, we tend to think of giving thanks for plenty, for abundance. But for the Pilgrims, they were giving thanks for what they had in spite of obvious scarcity and privation. Maybe we can learn from them to give thanks to God not merely when we feel particularly blessed but when to all appearances it might seem the opposite.
The Apostle tells us to give thanks to God in all things, not merely when things are good (I Thess. 5:18). Thanking God in the midst of want, that’s something to consider this year, and always. And that’s something the Pilgrims knew so well. — Fr. John