Gift #919: Thanksgiving Hymn #4

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope you had a wonderful day!  Today’s hymn, “Come Ye Thankful People Come” is one I’ve been looking forward to for a while.  Written in 1844, it’s a relatively new song, at least compared to the others we’ve read this week.  This was another hymn where I was familiar with the first verse, but didn’t recall ever hearing the following verses.  I was rather amazed with the symbolism and imagery it affords.  Well, let’s read it first and then discuss.

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!

We ourselves are God’s own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Grant, O harvest Lord, that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take the harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In the garner evermore.

Then, thou Church triumphant come,
Raise the song of harvest home!
All be safely gathered in,
Free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
In God’s garner to abide;
Come, ten thousand angels, come,
Raise the glorious harvest home!

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We typically think of Thanksgiving as a time for celebrating our harvest and rejoicing that our needs have been met.  The first verse alludes to this and this is no doubt why it’s a popular song for Thanksgiving.  But it’s the following verses I find so fascinating.  In the next verse, the focus shifts to describe us as God’s harvest.  This is familiar imagery from the Bible – in many instances God uses a farmer sowing his seed and reaping harvest to describe God’s work in the hearts of man.  His word of salvation goes forth and takes root in receptive hearts which bear fruit.  This song gives a another layer of meaning to Thanksgiving – in which we not only appreciate the harvest of food, but reflect on the privilege of being part of God’s spiritual harvest.

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The last two verses speak of when God will “harvest” those who have trusted in His provision and grace and gathers them to Himself where they will dwell with Him forever.  Note the parallelism between the first and last verses – in the first we “raise the song of harvest home” when our crops are safely stored and in the last we “raise the glorious harvest home” when we are safely stored in God’s house.  The concept of “home” is one I’ve been contemplating on for quite some time.  At Thanksgiving home is especially cherished.  We return to our families, gather with friends, remember those who have passed, and above all else, try to capture the feeling of belonging at home.  This song acknowledges that longing in us and looks forward to a day when we will be welcomed into God’s home, as part of His family and He will be with us.  We will enjoy the continual blessing of His presence forever – and that’s a wonderful reason to give thanks on this day.

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Many blessings to you,

Sarah

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