In the early 1600s, there were many in England who yearned to live and worship freely. They were persecuted for their faith, by way of royal edict. Forced to sneak around to secret in-home church services… their moves were spied upon by the King, and they were frequently “caught” worshipping God… reading from the Bible and praying to their God… against the established Church of England… many were subsequently jailed. Families were split. Religious liberty and freedoms were nonexistent.
They chose to give up all they had and set sail for freedom. No, no, no… let me rephrase that… they escaped… not only were they not allowed to worship freely, they could not leave the country freely. On their first attempt to leave England, they were caught, jailed, and split… but eventually and successfully did set sail for freedom.
From the time they set sail and well into establishing their settlements in America, they faced constant hardships, disease, death, filth, hunger, and danger… hardships I have never known and can hardly imagine. Initially, over half of their own died. But when presented with the opportunity to return to England, not one took it… they all stayed. In spite of the losses, the pain, the struggles… they knew they had freedom… and freedom was that good.
When I ponder the scenario of literally giving up my entire blessed life… packing up little more than the clothes on my back and leaving it all behind… for freedom… I am overwhelmed. It’s difficult to imagine. But these people, these founding families… they did it. They placed their faith in God and let Him lead. They trusted. They followed. They endured.
We have these brave people we call the Pilgrims to thank. If I had a way of extending gratitude to them directly, I would. But they’re no longer here… so instead… and more appropriately… I thank God… for it was He Who led and brought them here… it was His guiding hand and sovereignty that directed the Pilgrims, and He honored their faith… to pave the way for what would eventually become the United States of America.
Thank You God, for these very brave people who paved the way for our freedom. Thank You for the United States of America. And thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die in my place, Who gives true and eternal freedom.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
See George Washington’s October 3, 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation here.
See George Washington’s January 1, 1795 Thanksgiving Proclamation here.
See James Madison’s 1814 and 1815 Thanksgiving Proclamations here.
See Abraham Lincoln’s October 3, 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation here.