The Pilgrims landed in 1620, 396 years ago. I read they wanted to land in Virginia but because of weather and winds, wound up after more than 60 days on the ocean, much farther north. Of course, they didn't know how to get to the Virginia colony, they were unequipped for a Massachusetts winter, which they had to face without buildings or experience. The captain of the Mayflower wanted to return to England, naturally enough, but was persuaded to stay anchored where many of the party could still live on the boat during that first winter.
By the second November, they were much more successful, in no small part because of assistance of the local Native Americans. When the ship did return to England, none of the group took advantage of the trip to return.
That second November was the time of the first Thanksgiving and they had a great deal to be thankful for. It is customary to contrast our lives, with food and friends and roads and cars and electricity and heat, with theirs and to take a position of shame for the softness of our lives. Maybe it is all right to simply face the fact that 400 years can make a very big difference, big enough that neither we nor they could really grasp all of the differences between starting off with nothing on the shore of Massachusetts and our lives.
We face fears and uncertainties, we have limitations and difficulties. Many of them are hidden or background troubles but they can still weigh heavily on us. It is rather well established that being grateful is good for the body, mind and spirit. It can help to take an inventory of what we have and what we have accomplished. In our bodies, our houses, our accounts, our libraries, our lives and our pasts, we have lucked out in many ways. Let's give thanks.