Edward Winslow wrote in A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth (1621):
- Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massosoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. 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.
By the goodness of God, we are far from want. In fact, we have never known want like that of the Pilgrims. Giving up their homeland, leaving for an unknown shore across an unfriendly sea, suffering disease and starvation to make an investment in their future. They sought a wealth few of us think on today. As the closing two verses of The Landing of the Pilgrims so eloquently say,
- What sought they thus afar?
- Bright jewels of the mine?
- The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?–
- They sought a faith’s pure shrine!
- Ay, call it holy ground,
- The soil where first they trod.
- They have left unstained what there they found–
- Freedom to worship God.
Freedom to worship God was the wealth they sought. And more than that, the freedom to educate their children. For in Holland, the Pilgrims did have freedom to worship God but they saw their children going the way of the world, adopting the Dutch culture. They wanted not only the freedom to worship God as they pleased, but to educate their children according to their conscience. It was for this they traversed a hostile sea, suffered disease and nearly starved.
It was this for which they were able to give thanks and for which I am most thankful this season.
If you post what you are thankful for this week, feel free to leave a link to share!
A good Thanksgiving joke from two years ago.
And “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving” by Louisa May Alcott.