This last week, the Washington Times published an article that told the story of the “first Thanksgiving” that I wanted to highlight today. I know there’s a lot of conflicting opinions on the facts of history and the “rightness” of celebrating a holiday that marks the early colonization of the native peoples by Christians who eventually decimated these people groups. But as I read this article I really did experience gratitude for the kindness of the Native Americans who took a small gesture from the settlers and generously turned it into a three day feast to encourage the new-comers to their land.
Of course, we also grieve as we think of the future that was waiting for those native people groups and the sad history of the settler’s many broken promises disguised as the will of God.
Still, I think this is a holiday worth redeeming and celebrating. It never hurts to set aside time to remember what we are thankful for. From a kingdom perspective, we don’t give thanks for the fact that Europeans ended up conquering this land while massacring millions of natives and enslaving millions of Africans in the process. This we can only deplore. We rather simply remember that, in the midst of the brutality of our fallen world, “every good gift comes to us from the Father,” as James tells us. We should look for, and give thanks for, every glimmer of light that breaks through the clouds of our oppressed world and that warms our heart — the sort of glimmer the natives demonstrated to the pilgrims on that first Thanksgiving day.
So today, I want to take the time to thank all of you who have walked alongside us as we seek to further the Kingdom of God. My heart is full as I think back on our humble beginnings, as I read the letters of encouragement that many of you have taken the time to write, and as I see the kingdom movement growing and beginning to network together in America and around the world. Be blessed as you remember the goodness of God with us.