When the Mayflower anchored at the tip of Cape Cod in 1620, the pilgrims "fell upon their knees and blessed the God of Heaven who had ... delivered them from ... perils and miseries ..."

That winter, over 1/2 of them died from starvation, cold, and disease.

In the month of December, 6 people died. In January, there were 8 deaths. In February, 17 fatalities. And in March, another 13 died.

Frequently, 2 or 3 died on the same day. 4 entire families were taken, and there was only 1 family that didn't lose at least one member.

That is a hard Winter. But a Winter that HAD to be endured for the sake of those who would follow them; for their children, and their children's children, and the their children's children's children! Judging from the fact that of the 18 married women, 13 died, but only 3 of 13 children passed away, I would assume they knew the self-sacrifice that was needed to preserve the next generation and were willing to pay the price.

Our family was discussing Proverbs 24:10 recently, which says,
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
and Dad noted that it was a DAY of adversity. Adversity will indeed come, but it will not linger forever! As the pilgrims could testify, though their adversity was harsh and cold, it soon was passed and they were rejoicing in the abundant blessings from the Lord and the reward of their perseverance and determination. They purposed, however, to remember those hard times and how God had pulled them through devastating circumstances.

On the very first Thanksgiving, the pilgrims set 5 kernels of corn beside each plate to remind them of the time when they ate a mere 5 kernels of corn a meal per person in order to survive that cataclysmic winter.

We were so grateful to have a family reunion at our place this year, and as a reminder to be thankful for the incredible bounty WE are blessed with in our age, our family also set 5 kernels of corn beside each place setting just as the pilgrims had done. 

May we, too, be willing to endure the day of adversity, that those who follow in our steps may reflect upon the goodness of the Lord.