Ah, Thanksgiving. My favorite time of year. And of course it is a time not only to feast with family and friends, but also to give thanks to God for His bountiful goodness toward us. What better way to do this than by having a church service containing many beautiful hymns of thanks?
I’m sure many of us are familiar with the section in Lutheran Service Book with the usual Thanksgiving hymns labeled “Harvest and Thanksgiving.” While these are great and fitting for the Thanksgiving celebration, I have included others below that are not often thought of but would be wonderful additions to any Thanksgiving service.
We Praise You, O God (LSB 785)
This hymn offers thanks and praise to God for staying by our side even “through trial and tempest.” The words paint a picture of the act of worship in thanksgiving to the Lord, who does not abandon us. After outlining our praises and giving our reason for praise and thanksgiving—namely, the way God has guided us through difficulties—the hymn concludes with a reminder that our thanksgiving is offered gladly.
Lord of Glory, You Have Bought Us (LSB 851)
A recognition of Christ’s tremendous sacrifice, this hymn is also a prayer for God to “melt our thankless hearts of stone.” The author recognizes that even when we have faith in Christ, we often have “cold and selfish natures.” This hymn then drives us to recognize God’s abundant blessings, so bountiful that He even gives overflowing gifts to “the unthankful and the evil.” It ends with a plea to God to continue granting us the blessings of faith, hope, and, best of all, love.
Rejoice, O Pilgrim Throng (LSB 813)
The refrain of this hymn is a simple reminder to “rejoice, give thanks, and sing” not only on Thanksgiving but always. This hymn also tells us the cause of our joy and thankfulness: “The cross of Christ your king.” The cross, it tells us, is our “festal banner,” the reason we can return to our homes to feast in true and lasting joy.
O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee (LSB 632)
Using the same tune as the Doxology (always a fitting song for thanks and praise to God), this Communion hymn is a simple and joyful thanks to Christ for His sacrifice of body and blood. Its two stanzas render nothing but thanks and praise from a joyful heart.
Thanks to Thee, O Christ, Victorious (LSB 548)
This hymn uses short, simple phrases to tell the entire Gospel story. The final stanza then offers thanks for the richest blessings of God: Christ’s life, death, and resurrection; the sacraments of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism; and the Word of God. This hymn writer recognized that we have so much more to thank God for than merely material blessings.
May God Bestow on Us His Grace (LSB 823)
Finally, this hymn by Luther is a prayer for our Lord to continue to give His people grace and blessings. Luther knows that faith in Christ will prompt every nation to give thanks to God. He ends by exhorting all the world to praise the triune God in “solemn awe,” a recognition of the serious business of a Christian’s joy and thanksgiving. Listen to this hymn below.
I hope these hymns provide you with a wonderful way to hear and share the Gospel in your Thanksgiving service. While these are only a few among many of appropriate hymns of thanksgiving, I hope you can find one among them that you may have overlooked before.
Hymn quotations are from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.