I love Thanksgiving! It is the quintessential Protestant Holiday! It is the hearty, sincere, and humble acknowledgement that every good gift comes from the Father above.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (Ja 1:17)
Christians are commanded by Scripture to be thankful people. No people have received as much as we have and so no other people should feel as compelled as we are to live our lives in a state of constant gratitude and prayer.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (I Thes. 5:18)
Some traditional elements of Thanksgiving worship include the recitation of Psalm 100, recitation of Puritan Minister Edward Reynold’s Prayer of Thanksgiving from the 1662 BCP, and the Dutch hymn of Thanksgiving “We Gather Together”.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD he is God:
it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.
We bless you
for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world
by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.
And, we pray,
give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts
we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up ourselves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.
We Gather Together
This Dutch hymn was written in 1597 to celebrate Dutch independence and freedom from Wicked Roman Catholic oppression.
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.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!