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‘Roots of endurance’

We will soon be celebrating Thanksgiving Day. It is good to reflect back and recognize the sovereign hand of God in the formation of our nation. Man’s frailty was clearly exposed in that first winter after the 102 European passengers aboard the Mayflower crossed the Massachusetts Bay and began establishing a village at Plymouth. About half of the Pilgrims died that first brutal winter from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of disease. In March of 1621, the roots of endurance pushed up through the soil, the fledging beginnings of a new country were formed, the United States of America.

Some of the 102 Pilgrims that left Plymouth, England in September 1621, were what we might call religious separatists willing to risk their lives seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith. Others sought prosperity, land ownership and the desire the explore new opportunities that freedom would bring. To think that a powerful nation would be born from this venture of faith is hard to conceive. Apart from the mercy of God forgiving failures and the grace of God providing far beyond what was deserved, we would never have succeeded in the formation of this great country.

In November of 1621, after the first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a feast of celebration that included some of the Colony’s Native American allies. This feast of thanksgiving became a November tradition that continued among the colonies and later, under President Lincoln, during our devastating Civil War, Thanksgiving became a national holiday. This country has endured much since our humble, frail beginning, and we owe much gratitude to God for all the men and women before us who sacrificed so much to give birth to this country and safe passage through much adversity.

This month, in preparing for yet another Thanksgiving Day feast of celebration, let’s keep it simple and sincere. Don’t let Black Friday, Cyber Monday or the Dallas Cowboys distract us from setting time aside to ponder with great thanksgiving all the Lord has done for us in the past, and trust Him for a great reformation of hearts in the present. May we seek the true source of all good gifts, Jesus Christ our Lord, Deliverer and Savior of mankind. May we celebrate with joy, the birth of our nation, while caring earnestly for our brothers and sisters around the world.

MARV FISHER is the pastor at Calvary Chapel Farmville and can be heard weekdays at 1:30 PM on 105.3 Equip FM radio. He can be reached at pastor@ccfarmville.org.