“Come, ye thankful people, come; Raise the song of harvest home. All is safely gathered in Ere the winter storms begin.”
If there is one hymn that I associate with Thanksgiving, it is “Come Ye Thankful People, Come”. The poem was written in 1810 by Henry Alford. Six years later, it was set to music by George Elvey.
I guess I should mention that this hymn has been singing in my head off and on during this month of Gratitude to Our Lord of Harvest. Growing up, we sang hymns, and this one was one that was requested often. You see, in our church, we had Sundays when people would be invited to shout out the page numbers of their favorite hymns. Sometimes we sang Joy to the World on him hottest day of the summer. Sometimes, we sang the spirituals that were not in the “official” hymn book like Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. Sometimes, we sang older hymns that weren’t played often, like Sweet Hour of Prayer. It was a song fest, and boy did I loved those Sundays.
If Mom wasn’t in the choir loft and Dad wasn’t fishing in his favorite “church”, I got to feel how it felt to sing in a small choir. Altos. Sopranos. Tenors. Basses. The voices of families and people who would see me grow up surrounding me as the voices of those melodious words buried themselves in my heart.
Our minister mentioned this week that everyone is pretty good about calling out their thankfulness. I agree. I’ve seen it everywhere – even on storefronts. From sportscasters to social media to schools to – gasp – politicians, but – – as our preacher reminded us – – in all this thankfulness there is something missing.
While people, in general, mention how thankful they are, these same people seldom mention TO WHOM they are expressing thanks for all these blessings. They may thank the people close to them or thank their lucky stars or thank heavens or thank goodness, but somehow – the name behind all these phrases is ignored.
“All the world is God’s own field, Fruit unto his praise to yield, Wheat and tares together sown, Unto joy or sorrow grown.”
I think that is one of the reasons those old hymns still sing through my soul. Sometimes singing me to sleep. Sometimes waking me up. Sometimes comforting me. Sometimes dancing in joy with me. They leave no doubt TO WHOM all thankfulness should be given, and they remind me OF WHOM I need to express my thankfulness.
No cliches. No lies of omission. No slight of hand or should I say…..mouth.
It is not enough to be thankful just because it is November. The Native American and the Pilgrims did sit down to eat together. How it came to happen and what existed in the hearts of both groups of people, we can never know.
Today’s “truth” in man’s wisdom is ever fluctuating.
What we do know, from Wampanoag and Pilgrim traditions, is that there was a 3-day feast. A 3 day period of time when two very different groups of people were able to set aside their differences and break bread together. 3 days. Amazing things have been accomplished in 3 days. It all depends on the sower of seeds.
“First the blade, and then the ear, Then the full corn shall appear. LORD OF THE HARVEST, grant that we Wholesome grain and pure may be.”
My hope is that as we enter these last few days before Thanksgiving 2017, more and more people – different groups of people – will find a way to lay aside their differences and offer their thankfulness. Thankfulness not just directed to impress or influence the people around them, but as a gift – a hymn/a psalm of praise – to the One who is the source of all blessings. A true Gratitude Attitude.
A song to the LORD who provided the seed – the LORD who provides the living water and dust of the earth in which the seed grows – the LORD who multiples the seed many times over for the one who sowed it – the LORD of the Harvest who was and is and is to come. Amen.