We have so many things to be thankful for that I can’t imagine not being a “thankful person,” such as this hymn writer, who stopped to give thanks not only before meals but after and at night besides. On sleepless nights I, for instance, don’t count sleep but I do count God’s blessings of the day. Its benefits are numerous, not the least of them giving God joy.

Eternal perspectives      by Sally Bair

One of the Thankful

Our Thanksgiving holiday has different meanings for different people. For some it means watching football on TV with family. For others, it’s all about the food, or shopping. Some celebrate its true meaning through heartfelt gratitude to God for blessings received—especially during the harvest season. In fact, many cultures choose a special day to thank God for a bountiful harvest.

Henry Alford, a leading churchman in England during the 1800s, wrote a fitting hymn of thanksgiving. Originally called “After Harvest,” the hymn is now known as “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come,” and has become aptly popular in our Christian churches. It reminds us not only about the work we humans do, but about God’s work in causing His growth in us.

“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.

“All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield; wheat and tares together sown, unto joy or sorrow grown; first the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear; Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

“For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home; from His field shall in that day all offenses purge away, give His angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast, but the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

“Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home; gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin, there, forever purified, in Thy presence to abide; come, with all Thine angels, come, raise the glorious harvest home.”

Alford is reported to have been thankful before meals, after meals and at day’s end. He truly was one of the thankful. May it be so with us, too.

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God, who covers the heavens with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow on the mountains.” (Psalm 147:7-8)

Lord, Your bounty is endless. Thank You for the bounty of harvest time, for family and friends, for health and well-being, for the freedoms we enjoy in America. Thank You especially for Your great love which came to us through Your Son, Jesus, who loved us so much He died for us. May we be thankful morning, noon and night. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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