As a little boy I recall thumbing through an old church hymnal. I came across a piece that has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving songs. First, because it is so simple, and second, because it is specific. It doesn't simply ask us to count our blessings and name them one by one without helping us with some of those blessings that are ours. It has a Swedish origin. Just listen to a couple of the lines:
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all thou dost provide,
Thanks for times now but a memory,
Thanks for Jesus by my side.
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and dreary fall.
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul.
Thanks for prayers that thou hast answered,
Thanks for what thou dost deny,
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all thou dost supply.
Thanks for pain; thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair,
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare.
What is true of a church hymnal is also true of a Bible. In every Bible you will find a hymnbook. This ancient hymnbook is called the Book of Psalms. Threaded through these 150 psalms are hymns of thanksgiving that become favorites to us the longer we walk with the Lord. I have chosen today not the longest, and certainly not the most eloquent, psalm of thanksgiving, but one that is simple and specific: Psalm 138. I think you will take it with you through the Thanksgiving season as you hear three or four reasons we have to be thankful this time of year.
First let me say a few words about the structure of the psalm—and only a few, for it's the content of it that makes it meaningful. David wrote it. The first three lines or verses, as we have ...
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