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Singing Thankfully

by Levi Sisemore

    “For the beauty of the earth, / For the beauty of the skies, / For the Love which from our birth / Over and around us lies: Lord of all, to Thee we raise / This our Sacrifice of Praise” (For the Beauty of the Earth, 1864).

I’ve been on a little bit of a soapbox lately. It has to do with the singing of Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. While I won’t “defriend you” for singing It’s Beginning to Look at Lot Like Christmas before November 25, I will probably shake my head at you.

I’ve heard, though, that there are no Thanksgiving songs. Au contraire, my Christmas-hastening friend! There are songs aplenty which celebrate the giving of thanks to God. We only need to readjust our mindset to recognize which songs these are.

We always sang, “Over the river and through the woods / to grandmother’s house we go…” in the Thanksgiving season (I’ve been pulled by a “dappled gray” about as many times as I’ve ridden in a one-horse, open sleigh – never!). This song celebrates the traditional Thanksgiving foods, the change in the seasons, and the togetherness of family.

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep / I count my blessings instead of sheep. / And I fall asleep counting my blessings…” sang Bing Crosby, in a song that nowhere mentions Christmas, but is full of thanks.

Someone has even suggested Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World (“I see skies of blue and clouds of white / The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night / And I think to myself what a wonderful world”) to be a modern song for Thanksgiving.

If we consider how many of our Christmas songs are religious in theme, how do we not include hymns of gratitude from a growing list of “thanksgiving carols?”

“Thank you, Lord, for loving me. / Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul” and “For all that you’ve done, I will thank you, / For all that you’re going to do; / for all that you’ve promised and all that you are, / is all that has carried me through. / Jesus, I thank you” surely are lyrics which evoke great thanksgiving in the heart of the one who sings. Even a song that declares, “Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!” is full of thanks and praise (related biblical topics) for who God has been, is, and “forever wilt be.”

“Count your blessings, name them one by one; / Count your blessings, see what God hath done; / Count your blessings, name them one by one, / And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”

-Levi Sisemore is between Preaching positions


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Philippians 4:13