By Paul Ashton, Psy.D., D.Min.
Consultant to the VIRTUS® Programs
You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. Through the evidence of this service, you are glorifying God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others.
—2 Corinthians 9:11-13
Everyone loves Thanksgiving! Who does not love turkey and stuffing and all of the fixin's? It is a time of year that people look forward to with relish. There is nothing better than getting together with family, friends and loved ones to celebrate gratitude. Being present to each other is the greatest gift you can bring to the table. Honoring the past, celebrating the present and hoping for the future bring hearts and hands close.
Thanksgiving unites us in ways that few other holidays can. There is no rush to buy gifts, hang lights or prepare things. The anxieties are few, except of course for the saintly souls who shop, prepare and cook the feasts that many of us appreciate. Even then, all is done out of love and with grateful hearts. We come together in gratitude and we bless each other with our appreciation for all that is good and right.
In my younger days, I served as a choir director and music minister and everyone loved singing the songs of harvest time and of gratitude. The words to these songs, like the early settlers of our country, were direct, clear and of strong purpose. They were inspiring and uplifting, and mostly they were mindful of the good God who provided in times of need. I thought it might be good to join some of the verses of these old favorites, uniting them in prayerful reflection. Everyone has a favorite. Perhaps you will see it here, or perhaps you will sing it in your heart. Whatever way you approach Thanksgiving this year, may it be filled with the song of gracious appreciation for all that has been, all that is and all that will come!
Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, 'ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.
"Come, Ye Thankful People, Come"
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
"All Things Bright and Beautiful"
O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!
"Now Thank We All Our God"
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.
"We Gather Together"
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"
All good gifts around us
Are sent from heaven above,
Then thank the Lord,
O thank the Lord
For all His love.
"We Plow the Fields"
How good it is to thank the Lord,
And praise to Thee, Most High, accord,
To show Thy love with morning light,
And tell Thy faithfulness each night;
Yea, good it is Thy praise to sing,
And all our sweetest music bring.
"How Good It Is To Thank The Lord"
For the fruit of all creation, thanks be to God.
gifts bestowed on every nation, thanks be to God.
For the plowing, sowing, reaping,
silent growth while we are sleeping,
future needs in earth's safekeeping, thanks be to God.
"For The Fruit of All Creation"