This Thanksgiving, it is indeed proper and right to worship and to give thanks to our God for his many mercies and kindnesses toward us. There is an old Protestant hymn that I still love for this season. It was not written for Thanksgiving Day, as it was written in the 1500’s by the Dutch to celebrate a great naval victory. But, it does express much of what we think about during Thanksgiving.
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Thanksgiving is a time when we do remember that Our Lord does not forget us, that he is in charge of his kingdom divine, that victory will someday be won. We also ask him during Thanksgiving, exactly as we do in the Litany for Peace, that in numberless ways he may guard us and keep us safe. Thanksgiving is a time when we should gather in worship and then gather with our families to give thanks.
It should also be a time to remember that we were aliens and strangers in this land (except for those descended from Native Americans). I find it odd that a nation that pictures the welcome that they received from the Native Americans as a good thing, turns right around a couple of centuries later and tries to set impossible limitations on those who came here under the same conditions as their ancestors did. We remember on Thanksgiving that our ancestors found a welcome while refusing to pass it forward.
So, let us give thanks this Thanksgiving. And, I would suggest that there are some who are descended from the early immigrants who ought to give most especial thanks that their ancestors were not treated by the Native Americans in the same way in which they wish to treat modern immigrants. You know, it is really not about whether they “broke the law” or not. It is about the fact that they were welcomed here, were given jobs by companies who were never prosecuted, had taxes deducted from their paychecks (contrary to popular belief), sent their children to the local schools, and are now considered disposable and returnable with no harm and no foul accruing to us who gave them that welcome.
“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” – Leviticus 19:33-34