That stately old song has been stuck in my head since Sunday. So I looked it up. Turns out the "Thank You Hymn" has nothing to do with Pilgrims. None. Zip. Zilch. It's a 1597 Dutch hymn that finally made its way into American religious hymnals by 1903. For reals.
It was actually written as a hymn of thanks to God for relieving the Hollandese of their Spanish oppressors. Remember that crazy 1576 war where the Spaniards tried to overthrow Holland and make them Catholic and then they exiled all the Protestants, who in turn fought back and then nine years later the Spanish did it again and William the Silent was murdered by a Catholic assassin? Remember that?
Anywho, somehow after that the Dutch finally got some relief and this dude wrote a song of thanks to God for helping them out. Cuz it was about freedom of religion. And that is a beautiful thing I'm thankful for, too.
Soooo, why Thanksgiving? Good question. According to several sources it is a thanking hymn. Yep. Cuz it's about thanks. And giving thanks to God for relief from wicked oppressors.
"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
Sing praises to His name He forgets not His own."
Just remember that the next time you sing this one.