Fruits of the HarvestThanksgiving may not be known for its music, as the holiday usually gets overshadowed by Christmas songs. Here are six traditional Thanksgiving hymns to add to your playlist.

“We Gather Together”

This hymn is traditionally sung the week before Thanksgiving in many churches, but it was originally written by a Dutchman in 1597. Dutch Protestants were not allowed to gather for worship when they were ruled by the Spanish King, who was Catholic. The hymn didn’t come to America until the early 20th century, but it gained popularity when the Methodist-Episcopal Church included it in its 1935 hymnal. These are the lyrics to the first stanza:

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.

“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”

This beautiful song of the harvest was written by an English theologian, Henry Alford. Look for the version recorded by Cantus in 2014. The lyrics are based on Psalm 100:4. The first verse:

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!

“Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart”

This contemporary hymn was written in 1978 by Henry Smith, who had over 300 unpublished hymns. It is usually credited to Don Moen, because it was released on one of his albums. Smith wrote it at a time when he was having trouble finding work after his university graduation. The lyrics might be repetitive, but it’s a reminder to focus on giving thanks during the Thanksgiving season.

“For the Beauty of the Earth”

In 2006, BarlowGirl released a version of this hymn that went to No. 20 on R&R's Christian Adult Contemporary chart, but the song first appeared in 1864. It was written by an English hymnist in response to the countryside where he lived. It’s sung throughout the year, but it’s fitting for Thanksgiving.

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 grateful hymn of praise.

“This Is My Father’s World”

An episode of Criminal Minds opens with this hymn. Penn Jillette based the theme song for his podcast off this hymn, even though he is an atheist. Jillette says it was his favorite hymn growing up. Rev. Maltbie Davenport Babcock, a pastor from upstate New York, wrote the poem to commemorate the wonderment he felt about his corner of the world. It was published posthumously, then a friend set the words to music. The lyrics are quite appropriate for Thanksgiving.

This is my Father's world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father's world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;

His hand the wonders wrought.

“Count Your Blessings”

Bing Crosby’s “Count Your Blessings (Instead of Sheep)” takes inspiration from this hymn that is probably one of the most popular and well-known hymns of the 20th century. Johnson Oatman, Jr. penned the song in 1897. He wanted to make a contribution of music, but felt he couldn’t measure up to his father’s voice. Instead, he wrote songs, contributing 5,000 compositions that preached the gospel. The lyrics to this hymn are as follows:

When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Listen to these hymns this Thanksgiving to remind you what this season is all about.

Category: Holidays and Observances

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