“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.”
As we in America prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, I enjoy listening to a variety of hymns of Thanksgiving. I really love this time of year because of the built in reminders to be thankful. This year has had more challenges than most for many people, but we are still called to be grateful. When we shift our focus to our blessings it can change our perspectives and attitudes.
This month I want to focus on the hymn, Come Ye Thankful People Come. It was written in 1844 by Henry Alford. Henry Alford was born in London in 1810 and died in Canterbury, England in 1871. While he wrote a variety of hymns, this was his most well known hymn. It was written for the village harvest festivals in Victorian England. It takes imagery from the parable of the growing seed in Mark 4 and the wheat and the weeds in Matthew 13. In addition to hymns he authored other literary works, including The Greek Testament, a commentary of four volumes which took him 20 years to complete.
The hymn speaks of being thankful during the harvest which can be read both literally and figuratively. As you sing it and learn about it, it is a great opportunity to draw parallels with the first American (or colonial?) Thanksgiving and how God provided. Depending on your location, you may also want to visit a farm or field and see an actual harvest. This can open up discussions both about God’s daily provisions and about the figurative harvest of people for Christ.
This month as we study our hymn, I want to make sure we take the time to be thankful! There are many ways to count your blessings.
- You can write them down and put them in a jar to be read later.
- Begin writing them on a pumpkin and see if you can fill up the whole thing.
- Create a chain of blessings on paper rings.
- Go around the table and discuss your blessings at dinner each night,
- Go through the alphabet and think of something to be thankful for that begins with each letter.
If you want to include some visual arts in your study this month you could do this corn mosaic or this water color pumpkin. For something a little more challenging you could do this cornucopia and then write about your blessings. The Thanksgiving season offers a plethora of craft opportunities and our traditional gatherings are a great time to ‘show off’ your little one’s creations. As a bonus, you can send crafts home as party favors and de-clutter before Christmas!
If you are looking for additional songs of Thanksgiving to study this month, be sure to check out, We Gather Together and Count Your Blessings. What other Thanksgiving hymns do you enjoy?
Come Ye Thankful People Come (choir)
Come Ye Thankful People Come (lyrics and sheet music)
Come Ye Thankful People Come (guitar and voice)
Come Ye Thankful People Come (piano instrumental)
Come Ye Thankful People Come (Organ Instrumental Free with Prime Music)
Come Ye Thankful People Come (Congregational Singing Free with Prime)
Come Ye Thankful People Come (Scottish Festival Singers Free with Prime Music)
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