David says in the 30th Psalm: “Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psa 30:4-5).” Three things are of note here. First, our means of giving thanks is not by conjuring up thankful feelings, but by embodying our thanks in melody. Second, it is the remembrance of God’s holiness which should spark in us a depth of gratitude. God is not like us, and this is good. His ways are not our ways, and this is good. Third, this holiness is displayed in both His wrath and His favor. He has not only been far more merciful than our sins deserve, but He’s also bestowed entirely unmerited favor upon us. Truly the lines have fallen for us in pleasant places.
The Pilgrim story of 1621 is striking in how much pain preceded the thanksgiving. Something like half of the Mayflower passengers died in the voyage or in that first winter. But on that first thanksgiving, they still offered their Psalms to the Lord, offered their scant bounty in faith to the Indians (who I rediscovered brought popcorn to the feast), and then they extended the celebration over three days (my kind of people). They ate, drank, wrestled, had a shooting contest, and did it all trusting the Lord to provide and resting in His comfort. The way had been hard, but underneath were the everlasting arms.
And so, here we are, and as Grandpa Christie would have said, “I’m just glad we’re all together.” May we enjoy new versions of old traditions, or old versions of new traditions, take your pick. God has washed us clean. God has grown our family. God has met our every need, even in Biden’s economy. Today’s world is a madhouse on fire, but the King reigns, and evermore. So, let us shout with joy together: “To the King, to the Kingdom, to the Restoration.”