Have you ever began a journey just sure that God had called you to it, only to find yourself in the midst of great tribulation and testing? Did you wonder, "Did I miss something Lord? Why would you lead me this way only to watch me struggle so much within Your plan?"
I read somewhere that after the Pilgrim's landed in their new homeland that they first gave thanks. They recited together the words from Psalm 100:
Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. For the Lord is good. His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.
So after persecutions, relocating more than once with their families, and a journey that nearly killed them all - they arrived to a land that was raw and beautiful and filled with challenges. Yet they stopped to praise and thank God for his goodness and His faithfulness. Their attitude was to be grateful no matter what. God had a plan for them that included blessings and trials alike.
Thanksgiving did not start out as a one time feast after the first harvest. It began in the hearts of a group of people who decided ahead of time to be thankful for all things - the journey, the trials, the blessings and the Hand of God leading them.
How many times I have found myself recently focusing on the hard parts of life. May my heart be reminded in this season to decide ahead of time to thank Him for all things. And may I find ways to impress a heart of gratitude on my children.