1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I’ve noted each time I’ve read that passage to give thanks IN ALL circumstances and not FOR all circumstances. It’s actually the best way to live life and get through the ‘stuff’ that this world brings – sort of like celebrating Thanksgiving Day every day but without all of the food we will eat tomorrow!
My parents taught our family to be thankful – to focus on the blessings in life instead of numbering the negatives. I have to say though, that without a visit to Plymouth, Massachusetts in the fall of 1996, I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t mean the same to me as it does today. We traveled with a group to Plymouth with a leading historian and researcher, Marshall Foster, who specializes in the Pilgrims and their quest to establish new lives on our shores.
We learned about the very difficult, 66 day trip across the Atlantic Ocean by 102 hardy souls seeking religious freedom, the terrible storm that damaged the Mayflower’s main mast, how the Pilgrims gathered around the mast to pray and then used a printing press screw to hoist and hold the beam in place, and we learned about the signing of the Mayflower Compact – the first time that a free people had signed a social compact to govern themselves around the idea of self-government.
Mostly though, we learned about the sacrifices of those Pilgrims, primarily by the women. Of the twenty women who began the journey, fifteen perished in that horrible first winter, giving up their food to their children in a time when food was scarce and shelter was limited. Can you imagine living on the five kernels of dry corn that the Pilgrims lived on that first winter?
There is a simple but profound monument to those brave women in Plymouth which honors their sacrifice. If not for those women, would the Pilgrims have lasted long enough to have that first Thanksgiving Day when they joined with the Native Americans and thanked God for their blessings? Without their sacrifice, would America exist today? The Pilgrims knew their dream was bigger than themselves and it was worth the sacrifice. They knew they were planting freedom in the New World.
The Pilgrims’ leader, Governor William Bradford, said it well in his diary, “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing, and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light thousands, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea, in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all the praise.”
I know that we are all disappointed about the Presidential election, but we must fight on and stand for our principles with a new resolve. Like the Pilgrims, we must move ahead and be even more dedicated to our cause.
We are truly blessed to live in South Carolina and be Americans. I know you will join me in praying for our President and our national and state leaders and the challenges we face as a nation. On Thanksgiving Day, Dana, the kids, and I will pray for each of you too and thank God for the sacrifices you make daily in standing for your values.
I am honored to have the privilege of serving as your State Chairman and look forward to meeting those challenges head on with you in the coming year. I hope you and your family have a Blessed and restful Thanksgiving!
South Carolina Republican Party