Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Music & Arts ministry team at 3Crossess!
“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.” –Corrie ten Boom
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING
Psalm 107:8-9 (NIV)
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.
Isaiah 12:4-5 (NIV)
In that day you will say:
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done,
and proclaim that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;
let this be known to all the world.
ARTWORK: First Thanksgiving, 1621, Pilgrims and natives gather to share a meal, oil painting by jean Louis Gerome Ferris, 1932.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast. The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. The festival lasted for three days. For all the pilgrims this was a time of sharing and giving thanks to God. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower, and the Puritans who arrived soon after, brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.
In addition, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting long before Europeans set foot on their shores.
“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” – H.U. Westermayer
“Cultivate a thankful spirit! It will be to thee a perpetual feast. There is, or ought to be, with us no such thing as small mercies; all are great, because the least are undeserved. Indeed a really thankful heart will extract motive for gratitude from everything, making the most even of scanty blessings.” -John Ross Macduff, The Words and Mind of Jesus
Praise the LORD. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Psalm 7:17 New International Version (NIV)
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness;
I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
"The Pumpkin" by John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892)
Oh, greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,
The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,
And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,
With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all gold,
Like that which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,
While he waited to know that his warning was true,
And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in vain
For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.
On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of the harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.
Ah! on Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest;
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?
Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! The old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were failing!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!
When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune.
Our chair a broad pumpkin,-our lantern the moon,
Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam
In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!
Then thanks for they present! none sweeter or better
E'er smoked from an oven or circled a platter!
Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine,
Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking, than thine!
And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express,
Swells my heart that they shadow may never be less,
That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below,
And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine grow,
And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky
Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin pie!
Whittier was a Quaker and a poet who lived from 1807-1892 in New England. He was a part of a small group of poets called the Fireside poets which also included Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Homes Sr. They were so named because people would read their poetry while gathered together by the fireplace. They were the popular poets of the day who wrote about everyday life, nature and politics.
When the author begins to speak of Thanksgiving Day, he gets to the heart of the matter: family and memories.
Whittier concludes on a high note of thankfulness. He says that "the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express…" is for sweet and long lives for those around his table. As we take time to gather around our own family tables this season, won't we wish for the same
"Careful for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything." – Dwight L. Moody
I thank my God every time I remember you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
One of the finest qualities that a Christian can possess is that of thankfulness. When you think of church, family, friends and all that God has blessed us with, there is so much for which we can be thankful. We give thanks to God for surrounding us with people who support us and encourage us to continue in our ministry. Each year we have so many volunteers who sacrifice of their time, talent, and resources, so that the glorious Gospel of Christ can be proclaimed.
Let us today give God thanks in the name of Jesus who has, "blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.
Kevin Ledbetter - Pastor of Music & Arts
2 Chronicles 5:13
The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: “He is good; his love endures forever.” Then the temple of the LORD was filled with the cloud.
NOW THANK WE ALL OUR GOD
By Martin Rinckart; translated by Catherine Winkworth
Arranged by John Rutter and Sung by the Cambridge Singers
Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
PRAYER OF THANKS by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Father in heaven,
We thank thee.
When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G.K. Chesterton
PERSEVERANCE AND THANKSGIVING
2 Corinthians 4:15-16
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
ARTWORK: Pilgrims leaving England
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers - an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith, and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River.
Mayflower – 102 pilgrims; 41 Separatists, also called saints wanting freedom of religion. 61 Strangers - those who wanted to buy land, soldiers, etc. (30 Sailors making a total of 132 aboard)
July 22, 1620 - Prepare for first Departure – As they boarded the Ship Speedwell –A description of that scene was given by William Bradford in his journal later made into a book, Of Plymouth Plantation.
"That night was spent ashore, "with little sleep by ye most, "and early the next morning they and their friends boarded the Speedwell to exchange a last farewell, and truly doleful was ye sight of that sad and mournful parting, to see what sighs and sobs and praises did sound amongst them, what tears did gush from every eye, and pithy speeches pierce each heart." Falling upon his knees, and everybody with him, Pastor Robinson (who stayed behind) gave them his blessing and "with watery cheeks commended them with most fervent prayers to ye Lord….and then with mutual embraces and many tears, they took their leaves one of another, which proved to be ye last leave to many of them."
July 22, 1620 – First attempt to depart. They left from Leiden and returned after 15 days due to water leakage.
August 5, 1620 – Second attempt to depart on Mayflower & Speedwell. They left from Southampton, England but the Speedwell, after a few days, was once again returned due to water leakage.
September 6, 1620 – Third departure. The pilgrims leave from Plymouth, England. This time the Mayflower goes solo.
The Pilgrims endured fierce storms, sickness, starvation and dreadful living conditions.
Storms will come whether in the form of an illness, persecution, financial distress, family problems or in other situations. Sooner or later your faith will be tested and you will need peace that transcends understanding. This peace is available to all believers. Through the Holy Spirit, there's an assurance of the peace of God in any storm. Thank God today that you can have peace in the midst of great stress and trials.
Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
"As we pause to thank Him for the blessing of the past year, we must not forget to thank Him for the lessons we have learned through our difficult times. We are not to be thankful for just the pleasant, easy things, but ALL things." – Millie Stamm
"always giving thanks always to God the father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Today, you can hum "Give Thanks" at almost any church in the world, no matter the country or the language, and someone will recognize this simple song of thanksgiving and trust. "Give Thanks" continues to be one of the most popular songs during the Thanksgiving season - used in churches worldwide.
GIVE THANKS lyrics:
"Give thanks with a grateful heart;
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son."
"And now let the weak say, "I am strong!"
Let the poor say, "I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done for us."
This worship song was written in l978 by Henry Smith. The young seminary graduate penned it during a difficult time in his life when he was struggling to find work and coming to terms with a degenerative eye condition that would eventually leave him legally blind. Smith's inspiration was the scripture "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9. He was moved by this description of God becoming human to save man, he penned this simple song of thanksgiving and trust.
Following the introduction of the song during a worship service at the Williamsburg New Testament Church in Virginia, a military couple reintroduced it to a congregation in Germany. It eventually caught the attention of executives at Integrity Music, which is known for producing praise and worship music series under the label, Hosanna! Music.
In 1984 a young worship leader named Don Moen was hired by Hosanna! Music. This song was recorded as the title track of his debut album, which was laid down during a live worship service at Covenant Church of Mobile, Alabama in July 1986. "Give Thanks" was a tremendous success becoming the Hosanna! Music's bestselling release, with more than one million copies sold worldwide. Church congregations around the world picked up on this song, and it is was then recognized as one of the most popular contemporary hymns.
When Moen originally recorded the song in l986, the author was unknown, so Hosanna! Music copyrighted it. After the "Give Thanks" album came to the attention of Smith, he contacted the label with authorship information. His name was included on the songwriting credits for all the subsequent releases.
"In happy moments, PRAISE GOD. In difficult moments, SEEK GOD. In quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD. In painful moments, TRUST GOD. Every moment, THANK GOD." – Rick Warren
A HEART OF THANKSGIVING
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)
Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.
Lord, teach me to offer you a heart of thanksgiving and praise in all my daily experiences of life. Teach me to be joyful always, to pray continually and to give thanks in all my circumstances.
SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI'S PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
You are holy, Lord, the only God,
and Your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are Almighty.
You, Holy Father are King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God, all Good.
You are Good, all Good, supreme Good, Lord God, living and true.
You are love. You are wisdom.
You are humility. You are endurance.
You are rest. You are peace.
You are joy and gladness.
You are justice and moderation.
You are all our riches, and You suffice for us.
You are beauty.
You are gentleness.
You are our protector.
You are our guardian and defender.
You are our courage. You are our haven and our hope.
You are our faith, our great consolation.
You are our eternal life, Great and Wonderful Lord,
God Almighty, Merciful Saviour.
"You say, 'If I had a little more, I should be very satisfied.' You make a mistake. If you are not content with what you have, you would not be satisfied if it were doubled." – Charles H. Spurgeon
"Genuine thankfulness is an act of the heart's affections, not an act of the lips' muscles." – John Piper
"always giving thanks to God the Father of everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"This is the day that the Lord has made; le us rejoice and be glad in it."
An Attitude of Gratitude by Max Lucado
"A grateful heart sees each day as a gift. Thankful people focus less on what they lack and more on the privileges they have. I attended a banquet recently in which a wounded soldier was presented with the gift of a free house. He nearly fell over with gratitude. He bounded onto the stage with his one good leg and threw both arms around the presenter. "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" He hugged the guitar player in the band and the woman on the front row. He thanked the waiter, the other soldiers, and then the presenter again. Before the night was over, he thanked me! And I didn't do anything….
The grateful heart is like a magnet sweeping over the day, collecting reasons for gratitude. A zillion diamonds sparkle against the velvet of your sky every night. Thank you, God. A miracle of muscles enables your eyes to read these words and your brain to process them. Thank you, God. Your lungs inhale and exhale eleven thousand liters of air every day. Your heart will beat about three billion times in your lifetime. Your brain is a veritable electric generator of power. Thank you, God.
For the jam on our toast and the milk on our cereal. For the blanket that calms us and the joke that delights us and the warm sun that reminds us of God's love…. Thank you, Lord.
Gratitude gets us through the hard stuff. To reflect on your blessings is to rehearse God's accomplishments. To rehearse God's accomplishments is to discover his heart. To discover his heart is to discover not just good gifts but the Good Giver. Gratitude always leaves us looking at God and away from dread. It does to anxiety what the morning sun does to valley mist. It burns it up."
"Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it." –A.W. Tozer
"It's one thing to be grateful. It's another to give thanks. Gratitude is what you feel. Thanksgiving is what you do." – Tim Keller
THANK YOU VETERANS
Today is a day to honor all those brave Men and Women who have served and are serving their country with Bravery, Dedication and Self Sacrifice.
With Respect, Honor and Gratitude
Thank you Veterans!
"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." John 15:13
"The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace."
THANKSGIVING TO GOD
Thanksgiving is defined in the dictionary as "the expression of gratitude especially to God." The Greek word for thanksgiving is "eucharistia," which translates to "the giving of thanks for God's grace," gratitude, and giving of thanks.
The Bible commands believers to thank God.
"Go into His gates giving thanks and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and honor his name." - Psalm 100:4
The structure of this statement is not a suggestion. It is a definite command.
A few reasons why the Bible commands Christians to give thanksgiving to God is because it keeps us in a right relationship with God and allows us to maintain a good perspective on life. When our hearts are filled with thanksgiving, we keep the sins and temptations of greed, selfishness, and self-sufficiency away.
In Rory Noland's book "The Worshiping Artist: Worship on Earth as It is In Heaven" he states:
"Why does the Bible keep nagging us to give thanks? It's because we quickly forget all that God has done for us; we take him for granted. According to Romans 1:21, when we fail to honor God and give him thanks, our hearts become darkened. Indeed, if left unchecked, ingratitude leads to negativity, bitterness, cynicism, and despair."
As Christians thank God daily, remember that everything that we have been given is from God. Thanksgiving reminds us of what we have and the blessings we have received from the LORD.
Bible Verses About Thanksgiving and Praise
With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: "He is good; his love toward Israel endures forever." And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. – Ezra 3:11
For long ago, in the days of David and Asaph, there had been directors for the musicians and for the songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. – Nehemiah 12:46
I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. – Psalm 69:30
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. – Psalm 95:2
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. – Psalm 100:4
The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. – Isaiah 51:3
From them will come songs of thanksgiving and the sound of rejoicing. I will add to their numbers, and they will not be decreased; I will bring them honor, and they will not be disdained. – Jeremiah 30:19
"You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink." G. K. Chesterton
So we, Your people and the sheep of Your pasture, will give thanks to You forever; To all generations we will tell of Your praise,"
2 Corinthians 9:11
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
A Thanksgiving Day editorial in the newspaper told of a schoolteacher who asked her class of first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from disadvantaged neighborhoods actually had to be thankful for. But she knew that most of them would draw pictures of turkeys or tables with food. The teacher was taken aback with the picture Douglas handed in-a simple drawn hand.
But whose hand? The class was captivated by the abstract image. "I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food," said one child. "A farmer, " said another, "because he grows the turkeys." Finally when the others were at work, the teacher bent over Douglas's desk and asked whose hand it was. "It's your hand, Teacher," he mumbled.
She recalled that frequently at recess she had taken his hand and walked with him here or there, as she had the other students. Or, "Let me show you how to hold your pencil." Or, "Let's do this together." Douglas was most thankful for his teacher's hand.
Perhaps this was everyone's Thanksgiving, not for the material things given to us but for the chance, in whatever small way, to give to others. ---Source Unknown
Grace for a Child by Robert Herrick, 1591-1674
Here, a little child I stand,
Heaving up my either hand:
Cold as paddocks though they be,
Here I lift them up to Thee,
For a benison to fall
On our meat, and on us all. Amen
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
“Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”
YoYoMa and Alison Krause – Classic YoYo 2001
The song “Simple Gifts” was largely unknown outside Shaker Communities until Aaron Copland used its melody for the score of Martha Graham’s ballet Appalachian Spring, first performed in l944. Copland used “Simple Gifts” a second time in l950 in his first set of Old American Songs for voice and piano, which was later orchestrated. Many people thought that the tune was a traditional Celtic one but both the music and original lyrics are actually the compositions of Joseph Brackett. “Simple Gifts” has been adapted or arranged many times since by folksingers and composers.
“Simple Gifts” was written by Elder Joseph while he was at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine. Below are the original lyrics.
'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.
Several Shaker manuscripts indicate that this is a “Dancing song” or a “Quick Dance.” “Turning” is a common theme in Christian theology, but the references to “turning” in the last two lines have also been identified as dance instructions. When the traditional dance is performed properly, each dancer ends up where he or she began, “come ‘round right.”
Additional non-Shaker verses exist for the song:
'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real.
'Tis the gift to be loving, 'tis the best gift of all
Like a quiet rain it blesses where it falls
And with it we will truly believe
'Tis better to give than it is to receive
"In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich."
“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”
FREEDOM FROM WANT
I CHRONICLES 16:34 (NIV)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
As you gaze upon this famous Rockwell painting you can see the "eyes of delight" on all the family members gathered around the table. At this feast no-one will go hungry and even the most ferocious appetite will be satisfied. As wonderful as a beautiful dinner with family can be, let’s take a moment and consider how our Lord satisfies the deepest desires of our hearts.
In John 4 Jesus taught the woman at the well the eternal truth that He was the well of water that could spring up in her life, and through Him she would never thirst again.
In Philippians 4:19 it says,"But my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Let’s enjoy this Thanksgiving holiday, but never loose sight of the larger truth that in Christ we lack nothing, but can and should always be filled with His amazing abundance and grace.
Artwork: Freedom From Want by Norman Rockwell
In January 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his state of the Union address in which he outlined his idea of the Four Freedoms, which include freedom of speech, of worship, from fear, and from want. Two years later, over four consecutive issues during February and March 1943, The Saturday Evening Post published essays on each of FDR’s Four Freedoms, each accompanied by a painting by Norman Rockwell.
We all know Rockwell’s Freedom from Want by heart, even if we don’t know its title. From the lower right corner, in the finest Renaissance tradition of painting, a young man looks out at you directly-the classic challenge to the viewer posed by the painter and his painting. The young man’s smile reminds us that the Thanksgiving thanks are not necessarily for abundant protein and four kinds of vegetables. Instead, the thankfulness is for having each other and the enduring capacity of people to free one another from all kinds of want-physical, emotional, and spiritual.
“God has promised to supply all our needs. What we don’t have now, we don’t need now.” – Elizabeth Elliott
COLOSSIANS 3:13-17 (NIV)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
We come, O Lord, these Autumn days,
With hymns of gratitude and praise.
Harvest of gold the plains adorn,
Rich fruits roll forth from Plenty’s horn;
Thou givest treasures from the rocks;
The little hills are clothed with flocks;
The seas are with their burden white,
And new Thy mercies day and night.
For changing seasons as they go,
For Autumn leaf, for Winter’s snow,
For the green verdure of the Spring,
For life in plant and life on wing,
For Summer with its ripening heat,
For hopes the rounded years complete,
For morn and noon, for night and day,
For light that marks our heavenward way;
For all the blessings of Thy hand,
For freedom in fair freedom’s land,
Pursuits of thrift that bring us wealth,
For schools and churches, peace and health,
For commerce, yielding up her stores,
Brought for man’s use from distant shores;
For countless gifts, O Lord, we raise
Our hymns of gratitude and praise.
Thou settest man in families,
And all his wants the earth supplies;
Of children, be they far or near,
Of children’s children gathered here,
We thank Thee for Thy gracious care,
And lift for them the secret prayer,
As clustered round each social board
We eat and drink, and praise the Lord.
[J. E. Rankin]
“If in his gifts and benefits (God) were more sparing and close-handed, we should learn to be thankful….The greater God’s gifts and works, the less they are regarded.”
Martin Luther, in Table Talk
“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.”
THE HARVEST MOON
Psalm 136:7-9 (NIV) Who made the great lights, His love endures forever. The sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. The moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
PSALM 118:1 (NIV) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.
PSALM 92:1-2 (NIV) It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night,
THE HARVEST MOON by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
It is the Harvest Moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes
And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer guests,
With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!
All things are symbols: the external shows
Of Nature have their image in the mind,
As flowers and fruits and falling of the leaves;
The song-birds leave us at the summer’s close,
Only the empty nests are left behind,
And pipings of the quail among the sheaves.
QUOTES by G.K. Chesterton:
“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
WE GATHER TOGETHER
I THESSALONIANS 5: 16-18 (NIV)
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
HYMN: "We Gather Together"
Anonymous 17th-century Dutch, translated by Theodore Baker
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 131
“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.”
In many hymnals, “We gather together” appears as a Thanksgiving hymn. Perhaps this is because of the opening line and the general idea that God is with us regardless of our circumstances. However, the hymn speaks more about God’s providence throughout the trials of life. The story behind this hymn clarifies its text.
This hymn is a late 16th-century expression of celebration of freedom by The Netherlands from Spanish oppression. Like many older hymns, it finds its way to us through a circuitous route.
It was first published in Nederlandtsch Gedenckclanck (1626), a collection by Adrianus Valerius in Haarlem.
“A spirit of thankfulness is one of the most distinctive marks of a Christian whose heart is attuned to the Lord. Thank God in the midst of trials and every persecution.” – Billy Graham
“No matter what our circumstances, we can find a reason to be thankful.” - Dr. David Jeremiah
Philippians 4:6 New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Ephesians 5:19-21 New International Version (NIV)
19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As Christians we have much to be thankful for in our lives. God has given us all things in Christ, both now and in eternity. Our lives should be a reflection of the gratitude we have towards God for His continual blessings in our lives. Even in difficult times believers trust the hand of God’s providence and His praises will be on their lips. We celebrate “Thanksgiving” in our country once a year, but the Christ follower is thankful every day, and finds God’s mercies “new every morning”. Let's all embrace the attitude of thanksgiving and glorify God for His amazing grace and love towards His people.
Pastor Kevin Ledbetter
God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?’
William Arthur Ward