Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving, Top 10

Top 10 Songs for Thanksgiving

Originally published November 18, 2016

Isn’t Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday? It’s a whole day set aside for feasting and thanking God for all of the glorious things He has done for us. And what’s a celebration without great music? Here, in no particular order, are my top 10 picks for beautiful and joyful songs of Thanksgiving. (Click on the titles of the videos without screen lyrics for a lyric sheet in case you’d like to sing along!)

And if you prefer a playlist format, I’ve compiled all of the songs below into my YouTube Thanksgiving playlist.

1. We Gather Together

It’s the iconic song of Thanksgiving, and for good reason. Now you might think it’s strange that I picked this particular rendition, but there’s just something awesome about a large group of men singing. I think they did a marvelous job.

2.  My Heart is Filled with Thankfulness

This was a new one for me this year, but it’s already a favorite. With its phenomenal theology and singability, this one is probably already a Thanksgiving staple in many churches.

3. Now Thank We All Our God 

“With hearts and hands and voices.” We thank God in our hearts and by singing and praying to Him, but let’s not forget to serve Him, and others, as an act of thanks as well.

4. Give Thanks

This song quickly became a Thanksgiving standard in the 90’s. I love the way it points us to the simple truth of being thankful for Christ.

5. Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Sit down and read over the lyrics of this one if you have a moment. The hymnist beautifully weaves together the idea of harvest time and God’s provision for us with the idea that we are God’s “crop,” wheat and tares sown together. And one day “the Lord our God shall come, and shall take the harvest home.”

6. Thank You, Lord, for Saving my Soul

Did you know this song had verses? I have to say I feel a little cheated. I’ve been singing this song all my life and never knew of the three precious verses about thankfulness in this song. We need to bring them back!

7. For the Beauty of the Earth

How often do we forget to thank God for the simple things? The beauty of the earth, the love of family and friends, the church, and Christ, God’s best gift of all.

8. I Thank You, Lord

I’m sorry, but if this song doesn’t have you dancing across the kitchen with the turkey, you’d better check your praise thang to make sure it’s not broken. “I thank you Lord. You’ve been so good to me.” Not a thing wrong with that! (Sorry, I couldn’t find a lyrics sheet.)

9. Count Your Blessings

What a lovely treat from the chorale of The Master’s University. When’s the last time you counted your blessings? Thanksgiving is a great day to start, but don’t forget to keep counting (and thanking God) all year through!

10. He Has Made Me Glad

Drawn from Psalm 100 and 118, this sweet little song reminds us of the joy of simply being in God’s presence and thanking Him for who He is.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving song,
or song of thanks and praise to God?


I have not exhaustively vetted these musicians and songwriters, and I do not endorse any of them whose lives or beliefs conflict with Scripture or my beliefs as outlined in the Statement of Faith or Welcome tabs at the top of this page.

Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart

 Originally published November 26, 2008

O give thanks to the LORD,
for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
1 Chronicles 16:34

Thanksgiving is upon us. It’s my favorite holiday. I get “time off” from my job (although as a stay at home mom, my “time off” looks a lot like my “time on”!); I get to visit with family; there’s no mad rush of gift shopping; and, the whole holiday is centered around eating. What could be better?

There’s only one thing I don’t look forward to about the holiday I love best. I’m not happy with the way Christmas has begun to overshadow Thanksgiving. The radio stations started playing Christmas carols before Halloween. The stores put out Christmas decorations earlier and earlier every year. The commercials for Christmas gifts and sales have been prolific since October. You almost get a sense that, aside from the good people at Butterball, retailers consider Thanksgiving to be in the way. They know that Thanksgiving is the “Gentlemen, start your engines!” rallying point for most shoppers, and without it, they could probably push Black Friday back to September and combine it with their Labor Day sales.

But more than my own personal annoyance and my desire to gather up all the retail CEOs and the media in one place and shout at them, “Nobody puts Thanksgiving in a corner!” I’m concerned for all of us as a national community. With everything that’s going on in our country and the world right now, do we really need to skip over being thankful?

We Americans are so blessed we’ve become numb and ungrateful. What a slap in the face to people all over the world for whom simply surviving another day is an almost insurmountable task. How often do we have to worry about having water to drink that’s clean enough not to make us sick? How many of us are starving to death because we have no access to food? How often do we have warring factions marching through our front yards? When was the last time we secretly huddled together to worship, afraid that at any moment we could be arrested, tortured, killed?

In the mad rush of all that is going on in our day to day lives, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to slow down and give Thanksgiving its due.

 
Thank you, Lord…
 …that I can see, hear, move, think clearly, and attend to my own needs.
 …that I live in a country that protects my freedoms.
 …for the family with which You’ve blessed me.
 …for the roof over my head.
 …for enough to eat.

 …for saving me.

 
Don’t skip Thanksgiving this year. Don’t push it over in a corner and treat it as though it’s an interruption of your Christmas plans. Relish it. Wallow in it. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving

25 Things I Forgot to Thank God For

Originally published March 13, 2015

I’ve just been in a funk, lately. Nothing out of the ordinary is wrong, but it’s been raining for eleventy two days in a row, and the constant darkness and dreariness seems to have wormed its way into my psyche and, I noticed recently, even into my prayer life.

A couple of days ago, I started out my prayer time with a huge sigh followed by a bunch of wimpering and whining about nothing of consequence. I was just moody. And I didn’t feel like praying.

And then God graciously brought a lovely little snippet of Scripture to my mind:

give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Want to know God’s will for your life? There it is: give thanks in all circumstances. When you get a new car. When you catch your spouse cheating on you. When you’re on a glorious vacation. When you get laid off from work. When you’re happy. When you’re sad. When you’re in the mood, and when you’re not in the mood.

Give thanks in – not necessarily for, but in – all circumstances.

Well, this was certainly a circumstance. Why not give gratitude a try? I was in the car headed to pick up my boys from school, and I decided to spend the entire twenty minute drive just thanking God for things.

I started with the big stuff: salvation, forgiveness for my sin, times when God has miraculously provided, specific answers to prayer…

I was starting to slow down and I still had about half the drive left. Surely there was more to be thankful for! And that’s when it struck me. How often do we forget to thank God for all the (in our eyes) tiny little unnoticed things He does for us every day? We thank Him for the miracles, but what about the mundane? What “little things” had I forgotten to thank God for?

1. Air conditioning. I live in the South. Enough said.

2. I know where my next meal is coming from.

3. Social media and e-mail. I can keep up with far off loved ones, and I’ve “met” some awfully nice people.

4. I can see. I can hear. I can think clearly. I can walk.

5. I live in a country where Christianity is not yet against the law.

6. Sunsets.

7. Cute baby animals.

8. I can read and write. That’s not the case for women, globally.

9. I was able to conceive and carry my children to term.

10. Warm quilts on cold nights.

11. The Bible is available in my native language, and I have several copies of it.

12. I have no fear of suicide bombers in my community.

13. The beach.

14. A crawfish boil with friends.

15. Reliable electricity.

16. Hearing my children sing when they think no one is listening.

17. My husband is a believer and is good to me.

18. Mountains. I miss mountains.

19. Indoor plumbing and clean drinking water.

20. Laughing hysterically with my family.

21. Level-headed discernment ministries.

22. Peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.

23. A roof over my head.

24. Home schooling.

25. People who are kind (or crazy) enough to read my blog articles all the way to the end.

Well, that was my list, and I think I’ll keep looking for things to add to it. Thanking God for the “little things,” realizing they might be big things to others, and recognizing the pervasiveness of God’s blessings and provision cheered me up and was truly a worship experience.

What kinds of things would you put on your list?

Holidays (Other), Mailbag, Thanks/Thanksgiving

The Mailbag: Teaching Children Gratefulness

Do you know like of any Biblically sound books that will help teach a 3 yr old how to have a grateful heart? My daughter is trying to cultivate that in my 3 yr old grandson.

Awww, how sweet! What a blessing that he has a godly mommy and Grammy (or Mimi or Mamaw or…).

My youngest child is 18 so I’m not familiar with whatever is currently popular and available, although I’m sure there are some good, doctrinally sound children’s books out there. (Readers, if you have any suggestions, let this sister know in the comments.)

But if you’ll indulge me a trip down memory lane to wallow in sentimentality for just a moment, this was my daughter’s favorite book when she was a toddler (and all her little brothers loved it too!). It combines counting skills, thankfulness, and a hymn – pretty great, if you ask me!

Count Your Blessings by Donna D. Cooner, 1995

Now, it’s just sitting in my closet waiting for some grandchildren to come along…

If you decide to buy some toddler books on gratitude, I would just caution you to vet the authors of any book you’re considering just like you would vet the author of a book for adults. There are many false teachersPriscilla Shirer, Sarah Young, and Sheila Walsh just to name a few off the top of my head – who have branched out into writing children’s books.

But honestly, I think this is a great opportunity for you and your daughter to start teaching your grandson the Bible, Scripture memory, and prayer as it relates to being grateful to God.

Read some stories about people in the Bible who were thankful – the thankful leper, Zacchaeus, Noah, Daniel, rebuilding the temple…really any story in which God acts, provides, or protects and people thank Him for it – and ask a few simple questions. What did the main character in the story need or ask God for? What did God do? What did the main character say or do when God acted, provided, or protected? Has God ever acted, provided for, or protected you like that? How can we tell Him thank you?

Grab your concordance and look up some words and phrases like “give thanks“. Find a simple verse(s), talk about what it means, and practice saying it together. You might be surprised at just how quickly he can memorize those verses! The Bible verse memes in my article Top 10 Bible Verses on Giving Thanks are perfect for printing out or copying to your phone or tablet for this.

Another way to reinforce giving thanks to God is through music. You may find something helpful at Seeds Family Worship, or just create your own playlist on your favorite music platform.

One way I helped my children remember to be thankful (and let me tell you, it didn’t just help my children!) was with a simple little game I called The Gratitude Game. It’s kind of like playing “I Spy.” Just look out the window when you’re driving around in the car, or look around as you’re taking a walk, and take turns thanking God for what you see: “Thank You, God, for making birds.” “Thank You for ice cream.” “Thank You for police officers who help us.”

Books can be fun and helpful, and I hope you find a good one for your little sweetie, but you can’t beat stories and activities that center on Scripture itself.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Holidays (Other), Thanks/Thanksgiving, Top 10

Top 10 Bible Verses on Giving Thanks

Originally published November 20, 2015

Next to Easter and Christmas, there’s no better holiday that Christians could celebrate than Thanksgiving. Scripture reminds us over and over that we have a precious Savior and innumerable blessings to thank God for. Here are ten of my favorite Bible verses about giving thanks. Feel free to share them around on social media. You could also print them out to use in your Thanksgiving decor…

  • As place cards at the dinner table.
  • As tags on goody bags
  • Print out two copies of each, scramble them up face down, and let the kids play “Concentration” or “Memory” with them. (Each player takes turns flipping over two at a time until they find two that match.)
  • Have one person read part of his verse and see who can finish it. Or read the whole verse and see who can guess the reference.

1. Psalm 100:4

2. 1 Corinthians 15:57

3. 1 Chronicles 16:8

4. Ephesians 5:20

5. Psalm 69:30

6. Colossians 3:17

7. Psalm 79:13

8. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

9. Psalm 86:12

10. Revelation 7:12

What’s your favorite Bible verse about giving thanks?