Daily Devotion for November 22, 2012
Thanksgiving Day (US)
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
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.
All the world is God's own field,
fruit as praise to God we yield;
wheat and tares together sown
are to joy or sorrow grown;
first the blade and then the ear,
then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take the harvest home;
from the 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.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
there, forever purified,
in thy presence to abide;
come, with all thine angels, come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
Thanksgiving Day Prayer
Our Father, giver of life and joy, who is like you, Oh Lord, that we should come to you with our praise? You do not need these words, for you formed our lips. What is man that you are mindful of him? All who inhabit the earth owe their lives to you.
Your power, might, and love are seen in the bounty of this season. We gather this day around tables laden with food that you have brought forth. We gather as Lord and friends whom you brought into this world. We bow before you with humble hearts knowing we live because you brought us to life.
We celebrate this day as a nation of people who have been blessed beyond any other. We acknowledge you as the giver of the good we so easily take for granted. Forgive us as we are a forgetful people. Grant us on this Thanksgiving Day, the time to reflect on all the ways you have blessed each of us who has gathered. Increase our understanding of your ways, defeat us when we use our blessings for selfish gain, and remind us to love one another.
I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me and all of my brothers and sisters in Christ, I pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
This is a praise hymn in based on the American Traditional Shaker melody with the text an adaptation of Psalm 145.
Prayer for Peace
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart, that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live together in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Lord bless us and keep us. The Lord make his face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up his countenance upon us, and give us peace, this day and evermore.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 111:1-6, 10
I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.
The works of the Lord are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.
His work is honorable and glorious,
And His righteousness endures forever.
He has made His wonderful works to be remembered;
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
He has given food to those who fear Him;
He will ever be mindful of His covenant.
He has declared to His people the power of His works,
In giving them the heritage of the nations.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
His praise endures forever.
Remember to Thank God
Observe the commandments of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him. For the Lord is bringing you into a good land — a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
Notes on the Scripture
Most Christians learn, over the course of their study and prayer, that giving sincere thanks to God alleviates much of the misery and depression they feel. Our base instinct is to complain. We look forward: what we have, we take for granted; what we lack, we bewail.
But our Spirit is just the opposite. We know that all good things we enjoy have come from God, for without Him, we have nothing, neither life nor breath.
Another curative for self-pity is to consider those less fortunate; and at Thanksgiving Day, it is proper to remember the actual conditions in which the Pilgrims lived. They had landed in the middle of the New England winter. It isn't necessary to describe, in gory detail, the privation they endured. The statistics tell it all: By the time spring came, only 47 of the original 102 colonists were alive. And of those alive, only seven were strong enough to function, and had to take care of the rest.
They were thus truly thankful that they had harvested enough food that they would not become extinct in their second winter. Thankful simply to eat and be able to live in a world with nothing but cold, work, and nights without light. In the words of Edward Winslow, one of the survivors who wrote an account of their experience the first year,
"And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."