Thanksgiving, Back to Where We Started

Nena Arias | November 16, 2020

“Give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:18)

As I write this article, our annual Thanksgiving celebration is just days away. For most Americans, this holiday evokes a warm feeling of being surrounded with family and friends around beautiful food-filled tables and a sense of gratefulness to Almighty God for all of his bountiful blessings. Granted, some years are more difficult than others because life happens. There may be an empty seat from a departed loved one, but for the most part, these are happy and meaningful times providing the purpose of this celebration is focused on its true meaning.

The year 2020 is like nothing any of us, in this present generation, have ever lived before. It is even difficult to describe since we have had so many difficult challenges from all sides. As if the couple of years prior to a general election was not enough of a challenge, we have been battling a global virus that is killing many hundreds of thousands of people. In spite of precautions it continues to infect by the thousands. It also brought the economy to a screeching halt, not to mention our entire way of life. We have been on lockdown in our homes for months and it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. We can’t even go to church to worship. Business is fiercely struggling to stay alive. Weddings, birthday parties, graduations, sport events and ball games of all types, going to the movies, hair, nail salons and spas are restricted. Even hospital or nursing home visits are restricted. Some people have died alone, and their loved ones can’t even hold a funeral for them. This is a nightmare to say the least. Never in our wildest imaginations, except in an occasional movie, would something like this even enter our minds. Yet, here we are.  

I was appalled to read about the absurd mandatory Thanksgiving restrictions that California Gov. Newsom announced just the other day. The bottom line we can conclude is that the state is now taking over your entire household. What else can you conclude when some of the rules include “all gatherings must be held outside no matter the weather or living conditions. Gatherings of more than 3 households are prohibited. Meals must be in single serve containers or served by a person who washes or sanitizes hands frequently and wears a face covering. Attendees may go inside to use restrooms as long as the restrooms are frequently sanitized. Gatherings should be two hours or less. And get this one, the host should collect names of all attendees and their contact information in case contact tracing is needed later. Are you sick to your stomach yet?

The oppression that weighed the heaviest on the Pilgrims hearts that caused them to flee from protestant England was the spiritual oppression. Everything stems from the spiritual dimension. Without the liberty to exercise our beliefs, everything falls apart. Are we there in America? Are we back to where we started living under oppression, except this time we have no one to blame but ourselves? We were given a godly heritage but what have we done with it?

At the first Thanksgiving celebration they were celebrating blessings of a bountiful harvest, but they were also very grateful to Almighty God for the freedom they now enjoyed worshipping and living their biblical faith openly without restrictions.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s remember the history of this holiday and the hard work of these early pious Christians as we, too, take time to thank God for our abundant blessings.

Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!