In 1623 William Bradford, at age 33, issued a proclamation of Thanksgiving for the remaining Pilgrims who had landed on Plymouth Rock.
Because of winter storms their ship, the Mayflower, came ashore several hundred miles north of their planned destination. Half of the initial company that sailed from England died in the brutal first winter after their arrival. These Pilgrims endured because of a fierce desire to be free to worship the God of the Bible. They were a literal handful of people. Yet they survived, fueled by gratitude.
Think of it, fifty or so people, faced with overwhelming odds, with only the mercy of God to sustain them, helped to change the course of human history.
Fifty people. Do you, do I have the courage to find forty nine others and do what they did?
Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
—William Bradford Ye Governor of Ye Colony