On November 21, 1620 after four months on board, the Pilgrims came to rest in Provincetown Harbor where “they fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who brought them over the vast and furious ocean and delivered them from all the perils and miseries thereof.” Their purpose was clearly stated in the soon to be drafted Mayflower Compact. “Having undertaken, for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith… a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern Parts of Virginia”.
Not long after the “General Sickness” swept through the group, devastating colonists and crew alike. No one knows what this illness was, though it may have been pneumonia. Forty-five of the 102 Mayflower passengers died that first winter of 1620-1621. Only 12 of 26 men with families and 4 of the 12 single men and boys survived. Little wonder that the first Thanksgiving included a blessing on the harvest and thanks to God. The survivors were thankful just to be alive. Everything beyond survival was an occasion for praise.
Can you see their trajectory? After their first steps on the new continent they fell on their knees in praise to God. After their first challenging year of near starvation, cold, and disease they gave thanks to God. They were focused on their relationship with God recognizing His leading and His provision.
Have we traded devotion for devotions? Is our life devoted to God or given to meal time prayer devotions and a once a year holiday focused more and more on shopping than thanksgiving? As we enter a season of holidays may we delight ourselves in the “movemental discipline of rigorous devotion” rather than the mere opportunity for pleasure while not forgetting to tip our hat to God in appreciation.
With you on the journey,