I was about 5 or 6, we had made hats and headdresses out of construction paper; glued and colored on brown paper bags. This was to be the big production of the century, teaching everyone about the first Thanksgiving was very important after all, and it was a remarkable pageant, I am sure of it, based on the raging applause. Flash forward a few decades (OK 4 decades is more than a few) I now know of the truth of what came of the relationship between the Native Americans and the settlers. Sadly, much of it was not to be remembered fondly. However, does that change the original sentiment of thanksgiving? I think not.
In a time where many traditions of holiday festivities and family gatherings are broken or non-existent, is there still a place for the sentiment behind Thanksgiving? We are for all our weaknesses, faults, and irreconcilable differences, a nation of people built from a variety of places with different values and beliefs. We have had our troubles with political scandals, fallen leaders, and crimes against our humanity, but we are still here and proud to call it our country.
Our forefathers declared us to be “One Nation Under God” and though even that sentiment is under attack in this day and age, we are still “One Nation”. I am a believer; I fully accept that there is a God and that Jesus Christ is my redeemer. I am proud of my country, despite my not always agreeing with everyone, I love that I have the right to disagree peacefully and with respect. You may not be in alignment with me or my beliefs, but I humbly respect you for who you are and what you believe.
You might have a big family and friends gathering this Thanksgiving, or a football party, or dining alone, or maybe even looking for a free meal at the mission, you have something to be thankful for. You might be looking back at a hard year or a great one, whichever it is there is still something to be thankful for. And you might even be in a place of brokenness, pain, or loss; even here there is something to be thankful for. You matter, we all matter, there are no mistakes. Whether you are a believer or not, I will profess that you are loved, you are never alone, and nothing nor nobody can take that away from you because God doesn’t quit, He doesn’t leave, He is with you and loves you always, even when you don’t love yourself.
This is the root behind the sentiment of the first Thanksgiving; we are humans and every man, woman, and child regardless of where we come from, we all matter and that is what drove these two very different peoples to come together and share what they had. Not what separates us, but what connects us.
Lord, God I thank you for all the color and variety you have placed in this world. I thank you that we are not all the same, but for all our differences we still matter to you. I pray a blessing over our country as they look toward this holiday that is all about being thankful. I ask that you guide their hearts to see all that you have blessed them with and know they are loved.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, however you may celebrate it. I pray for it to be a safe and thankful time.