I can remember as a young pastor thumbing through my grandmother Emilie Bee’s old church hymnal while serving a small congregation in Grafton, Illinois. I remember the congregation well because we had to cross the Mississippi into Illinois by way of a barge/ferry. As I perused her hymnal, I came across a piece of music that has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving poems. I like it, first, because it is so simple, and second, because it is so specific. It doesn’t simply ask us to count our blessing and name them one by one (like the old song we grew up with) but it names very explicitly some of the blessings we have been given. It harks back to a time when such faith was unmarred by today’s complications—yet it speaks to our problems and issues just the same.
It has a Swedish origin, written by August Ludvig Storm and is entitled: “Thanks to God for My Redeemer.” It reads like this:
I encourage you on the eve of this Thanksgiving to take a moment to reflect on the treasures that God has given to you and to your family and friends around. Reflect on the beauty of His creation and our relationship to it. I prefer this particular holiday—Thanksgiving Day—because it is so healthy—so encouraging—and often so understated. Of the three major festivals of the last three months of the year, it is the simplest and most specific. There are not jingles to sing, few commercials to endure, no things to go out and buy—just a day to be thankful and enjoy those around us with a meal. So, look up, look around you and within yourself and say, “Thank you, Lord.”