In the 1600s my ancestors came to the American colonies. No, not on the Mayflower. They weren’t even Pilgrims. My Scottish Presbyterian ancestor James Marshall, along with many others Scots, had been uprooted by the English and forced to move to Northern Ireland because the English wanted to secure the area for themselves. But while he was there, he had the misfortune to fall in love with a lovely Irish lass. She was Catholic. For that crime, the two of them were sentenced to death. So they did the only thing they could do. They scraped together their few belongings with any intrinsic value, and they secured third class passage to the Virginia colony.
It must have been a hard, miserable life. Lonely, too. The colonists weren’t happy about the couple’s mixed marriage either. James and Laura constructed a hut for themselves in a land pocked by far more graves than dwellings. James Marshall was never wealthy. Just a poor farmer trying to make it from harvest to harvest. But he had to have been amazed by the relative freedom he enjoyed in that new place. And thankful, too. So very thankful.
Through the generations, the Marshall clan has had its share of tragedy and pain. Yet through it all, they had more than enough reason to carry Thanksgiving in their hearts.
Whatever your circumstances, whatever your challenges, my prayer for you is that you, too, will hold this day close and carry it in your heart always.
“Remember God’s bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!”
~Henry Ward Beecher~