Two of my favorite Thanksgiving memories involve pilgrims. In the first one our son, brimming with confidence and pride, read aloud his second-grade writing of the pilgrim story. We all listened and smiled with him before we dove in to our Thanksgiving feast. I think it was just the five of us that year – no family from out of town or guests from the church. But, filled with gratefulness, we thoroughly enjoyed the togetherness of the moment. Something about that simple pilgrim story stays with me after all these years.
Then our youngest daughter, a couple of Thanksgivings later, joined the kindergarten program dressed in an authentic pilgrim costume. I had no part in creating the costume—I think her school kept these on hand, the perfect size for the young classes. It was so cute. And again, their simple school play brought home the reminder of pilgrims, struggling through hardship, and celebrating with thanks.
The holidays frequently involve pilgrimage – heading over hill and dale to connect with our families. I am also mindful that life itself is a pilgrimage – we are strangers and aliens in this land (1 Peter 2:11). I desire to cultivate a thankful environment to share through these holidays. An atmosphere that humbly acknowledges the gifts we have received, joyfully revels in the closeness of loved ones, and moved by the steady beat of pilgrims’ feet, shines with anticipation for our future hope.