A Humble, Thankful Heart

It will be another humble and yet meaningful thanksgiving celebration for us this year. 

We are still not be able to gather freely like we did pre-pandemic with our families and friends. Nor can we gather to worship as we have with song and celebration of the bounty God’s creation. 

Yet, we do have many blessing to count. And even if our celebrations of those blessings are tempered by the continued concern and we are wearied by its continued toll, God has not stopped blessing us.

We have all been reminded of the preciousness of the simpler gifts. The gift of people in our lives who care for us. Our deepening understanding of the importance of the connections and relationships we have with others, and an improved appreciation of nature’s beauty and power. 

We have all had to work harder for the things we need to feed ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And although we all wish that the pandemic was over, the increased effort that we have had to put into all things has meant we have had to use our time and resources more wisely, discerning what is truly important to us and what blessings are really and truly blessings.

This helps us to be truly thankful for what we have and what wonderful blessing God has given us. With our the usual buffet of options and the bombardment of pressure from our consumer culture limited, these simple gifts can be brought centre stage.

It brings to mind one of the hymns I enjoy singing at this time of the year, “We Plough the Fields and Scatter.”

This version uses older lyrics for the last verse that are different from the ones I quote below.

It is a wonderful hymn whose lyrics draw us to focus on giving thanks for the gift of creation and the pattern of the seasons that bring us and all God’s creatures the physical nourishment we need to live. 

The hymn’s repeated refrain calls us to give thanks:

“All good gifts around us 
are sent from heaven above; 
then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord 
for all his love.” 

You and I have probably sung these lines so many times in our lives. It is a perfect hymn for celebrating this time of year and the harvest of fruits of the earth. It is a wonderful hymn of promise and hope. The seeds that are scattered are small and yet every year God provides what is needed for those seeds to grow and for us and all God’s creatures to have our “daily bread.”

But also this year, with all that we have been continuing to go through, its reminder is even more important and more meaningful to hear, because of the costs and troubles we have faced. 

We have all been humbled in more ways than one by our experiences.  

This humbling experience too is it’s self a blessing which this hymn we sing makes plain in the final lines of the last verse:

“Accept the gifts we offer 
for all thy love imparts, 
and, what thou most desirest,
our humble, thankful hearts.”

God continues to provide for us from the bounty of creation. This is a promise we see fulfilled every year.  And although I wouldn’t wish what we have had to endure through the pandemic on anyone, we have all been loved by God and provided for at our most basic and necessary level.  

This is grace that we often overlook. But it is a grace and simple blessing that our pandemic humbled hearts can give thanks for.