PRAYER: Thanksgiving by Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

Thanksgiving, by Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette

From Blessings of the Daily

Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter’s storm 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.
(Henry Alford)

Toward the end of November, farmers and gardeners begin to complete their fall work.  Our animals seek shelter in a warm barn, woodpiles are assembled near the monastery building, hay is stored in the barn, and the last vegetables are harvested from the garden.  Another full cycle arrives at its completion, and all of us move on to the annual celebration of Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving day, we sing in the monastery the Te Deum, in it solemn tone, at the conclusion of the morning Office.  The Te Deum is our prayer of praise and gratitude to the Lord for the miracle of a good harvest.  Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to thank God not only for the miracle of the harvest, but also for all the blessings and small miracles of everyday life accorded to us throughout the entire year.  With Thanksgiving, we reach the peak of our fall celebration.  After today, we begin to feel autumn’s steady decline as it merges with the rapidly arriving winter.  Very soon, Advent shall be knocking upon the door, and we must begin to prepare our hearts for the Lord’s coming.  Today, our Thanksgiving prayer is expressed in the words of the early Christians:

Father, creator of Heaven and Earth, you have beautified the sky with a crown of stars and illuminated it with the sun and the moon.  You have also adorned the Earth with its fruits to be of service and use to humankind.  You have willed that all your people should rejoice in the bright shining of the sun and moon and be nourished by the fruits of the soil.  Grant, we beseech you, to send us rains in abundance and to bless the Earth with rich harvest and great fertility.  We ask this of your goodness through your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.

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