102 Pilgrims arrived in New England aboard the Mayflower in the fall of 1620.
One year later only about half of those Pilgrims had survived.
Throughout the first brutal winter, most of the Pilgrims remained on board the ship, and perished through lack of shelter, scurvy, outbreaks of contagious disease and starvation.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first harvest proved successful, they organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the Wampanoag Indians.
That was the first Thanksgiving.
The Pilgrims gave thanks to God for their first plentiful harvest.
Good harvests were vital back then, for in a world without commodity markets and adequate transport, food shortages often resulted in death due to starvation.
The Pilgrims led a miserable life when compared to ours.
The died relatively young, they had no medicines. People with ailments had to be treated in ways that were unspeakably cruel.
They lived in houses that were bug-infested and with neither privacy nor comfort. Few people knew how to read or write, and almost no one travelled past beyond their native towns.
They worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset, yet scarcity and hunger were all too common.
Yet they were grateful for what they had.
Today, we live a longer, healthier, happier, and safer life. We are not longer concerned with eating too little.
All too often we tend to overlook how lucky we are to live in such an abundant world.
So during this Thanksgiving holiday, let us give thanks for how blessed we are.
Life can be hard, but it was definitely harder back then.