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Happy Thanksgiving from Dr. Moreno-Riaño

President Nov. 22, 2022

Forty-two years ago, my family and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving in the United States. We had just immigrated to and arrived in the U.S. when we took part in this national holiday. I still remember our first Thanksgiving dinner and all of the time everyone took to prepare for this special day. Hours of preparation were invested in recipes, food prep, cooking, wardrobes and table settings. And there was a seemingly ceaseless buzzing of energy and conversation amidst everyone in the home in which we were both strangers and guests.Then came a moment of complete silence and simple words—the Thanksgiving prayer before the meal.All of this was new to my family and me. The setting aside of a day for giving thanks to God, for sharing with others that for which we were thankful, a moment of prayer before a meal, holding hands around a table and—dare I say it—all of the yummy food!We were strangers and guests in a new land, our new country—the United States. Yet we were included, embraced and invited to participate in a time-honored tradition of the giving of thanks to God.The writer of Psalm 106 so too invites us to “give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”President Abraham Lincoln in his Oct. 3, 1863, proclamation that enshrined Thanksgiving as a national U.S. holiday also invited the Civil War-torn nation:

to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union. (Lincoln, 1863)

President Lincoln heralded Thanksgiving as a national holiday of thanksgiving to God, praise to God and humble penitence and prayer toward God. In short, Thanksgiving as originally envisioned was a day of gratitude, praise, repentance and prayer for healing and restoration.As we prepare for this coming Thanksgiving, as an immigrant in Michigan and in America, I invite all of us to set aside much time in the coming days and thereafter to offer gratitude to God for His great blessings upon our families, our communities and our country of origin and/or the country in which we reside. I invite us to offer praise to God for His inestimable greatness and mercy to our families, our communities and our country of origin and/or the country in which we reside. I invite us to pursue humble repentance for our sins and the sins of our families, our communities and our country of origin and/or the country in which we reside. And I invite us to ask our Almighty God to heal and restore us, our families, our communities and our country of origin and/or the country in which we reside.Living now 42 years in my new country—the United States—I never cease to be grateful for the opportunity to set aside a day to give thanks to God for His goodness and mercy. We are all products of God’s goodness and mercy. May this Thanksgiving be a joyous and humble affirmation of God’s mercy and goodness to us. And may it propel each of us to be good and merciful to one another.May each of you be blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!Sincerely,Gerson Moreno-Riaño, Ph.D.President

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