Today, as promised, I gather together favorite hymns of thanksgiving submitted by readers. And I received a full cornucopia of choices.
The most popular hymn of thanks seems to be "Because I Have Been Given Much." Steve Baldridge says it is "elegant, simple and easily sung." Steve Henich writes that the hymn pointedly indicates from whom all blessings flow.
Shaun Allen also holds the hymn in high regard.
Several were also surprised the hymn didn't make the list of my top five hymns of gratitude.
I am, too.
It should have, especially because it was the first hymn I sang in church after spending 20 years on the lam. I'd never heard the hymn before because it was added to the new hymnal in 1985. But it touched me deeply. I immediately went out and bought a book of poetry by Grace Noll Crowell, who wrote the lyrics. That book remains one of my favorite volumes of inspirational verse.
As for other favorites, Eric Chaffey suggests "Come Ye Thankful People Come." He also suggests we dig a little deeper and find the words to the final two verses, which aren't included in our hymnal. He says they make all the difference in the world.
Darrell Knowles likes "All My Days," a fresh, new tune by Hilary Weeks.
Connie Diehl chose the children's song, "Children All Over the World."
Shirley Hester votes for "Count Your Blessings." She sang that hymn to her mother as she slipped away.
But probably the most touching comments came from Pennie Kirby, who says her favorite hymn of thanks is "I Have Two Little Hands."
"There is more to that little hymn than meets the eye," she writes. "A number of years ago I was having surgery. The head anesthesiologist came up to me, took my hand and said, 'Those are the ugliest hands I have ever seen.' (I bit my nails at the time). I was too groggy to tell him that he had no idea how many babies I had held, how many rolls I had sent into the neighborhood, how good my caramels were or how many children's hearts and hands I had held as I taught them how to read.
"Years later, when I worked at a candy store (and could pay to have my hands look nice), a man came in and bought candy with a check. When I saw 'Dr.' on the check I asked what kind. He said he was an anesthesiologist. I told him my story. He picked up my hand, held it and said 'Cruel, cruel. These are the most beautiful hands in the world.' He did that several more times before I lost track of him.
"Hence, I love my hands. And I'm grateful for them. I am grateful, too, for the other little hymns about thanks in the hymnbook."
On this Thanksgiving, like Pennie, I'm grateful for hymns about gratitude.
And grateful for readers who aren't afraid to show others what they hold down in their hearts.
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