Today’s Verse: 1 Chronicles 29:11-13
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. (NKJV)
Here David is addressing God before the people at the time of the offering for the temple. He approaches God in a humble and sincere manner acknowledging God’s grace to His people. This is a corporate worship experience and the whole gathering is encouraged to put God at the center of life and the community and His goodness and mercy to those who acknowledge Him and place Him at the center of their lives will know no bounds. David’s address to God before the people is something that is well worth remembering at this time of Thanksgiving as his blessings to our nation and to each one of us, in spite of the fact that we forget Him time and time again, are beyond our compre- hension. On this day of Thanksgiving take David’s lead in the worship of Our Creator and Lord at a critical point in the history of our nation and also to reread the proclamation of President Lincoln made at a time when many in this country had given up hope that there would be an end to the war that tore us apart. There have been and will be bad times but we will weather them through God’s grace and care for each and every one of us only if we turn to Him. Have a blessed Thanksgiving in God’s love and care.
Hymn: How Great Thou Art
O Lord my God,
When I in awesome wonder Consider all
The world Thy Hand hath made, I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder, Thy pow’r throughout
The universe displayed; Refrain:
Then sings my soul,
My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
Then sings my soul,
My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art!
How great Thou art!
This hymn was added to the Methodist Hymnal in the 1966 edition after a number of church members lobbied for its inclusion. There was also a great deal of resistance to the hymn when the committee considered it for publication. The hymn has a very tortured journey to publication in our hymnal. It was originally composed in Swedish around 1885 by Carl Broberg. Mr. E. Gustav Johnson then translated Mr. Brobergs composition into English in 1925, but it failed to become popular. In 1907, Manfred von Glehn translated the hymn into German and titled it “Wie gross bist Du.” It was then translated into Russian in 1927 by L. S. Prokhanoff, and was published in Lodz, Poland. It was three stanzas of the Russian text that was translated into English by evangelist Stuart K. Hine in 1939 and used in his preaching in England. It was Hine that added the present fourth verse which was inspired by refugees from Nazi tyranny who kept asking the question, “When can I go home?” The hymn became famous in the United States when in 1955, George Beverly Shea sang it at a Billy Graham Crusade. The hymn was a hit and became a regular feature of the crusades.
So what were the controversies that plagued this hymn complicating its inclusion in our hymnal despite its popularity? First, there was a copyright issue and lawsuits due to its rather convoluted origins. After that, there was a controversy about the tune. Mr. Hine says he reconstructed it from a Swedish folk tune, but a number of people noted that the tune resembles the Nazi party song, “Horst Wessel Lied.” After that blew over, others complained that a piece of popular Gospel music would lower the respectability of the official hymnal. Added to that was the concern of the hymnal committee being able to afford to pay the royalty fee for publication. They finally settled on $2,000.00 (a major sum back then as I can testify an Ensign in the Coast Guard made only $220.00 a month back then) and there remained a great deal of concern that if they added other modern songs there would not be enough money to pay all the fees that would be requested. All those controversies aside what we have left is a hymn celebrating new life through Christ’s sacrifice for us. Once again, something unwanted that with a checkered past that was a failure in its first translation into English became a part of God’s plan to spread the Good News years later. This Thanksgiving remember that God’s plans are not ours and it is in His time, and not ours, that He works His wonders for our good. Happy Thanksgiving.
How about ending this study with something light-hearted?
A Thanksgiving Medication from 1863: Egg-Nog
Believe it or not Egg-Nog in the 1860’s was also part of the diet fed to ill or wounded soldiers. The following recipe was found in the 1862 edition of The Manual of Military Surgery written by Samuel David Gross, MD on page 182:
Egg-nog consists of an egg the white and yolk of which are beaten up separately; half a pint of cold water with a little loaf-sugar is then added, together with two tablespoonsful of brandy.
Another recipe for this sick room essential was found on page 19 in The Family Nurse written by
“Mrs. Child” published in 1837 and this was titled “Egg Gruel.”
Boil a pint of new milk; beat four eggs to a light froth and pour in while the milk boils; stir them thoroughly together, but do not let them boil. Add a little salt, sweeten with loaf sugar, and grate in a little nutmeg. Take half of it while warm, and the other half in two hours. Somewhat astringent, nutritious, and medicinal in advanced stages of chronic dysentery where the dis- ease continues from weakness after the cause in removed by physic.
Now I do not think that it would be something that you would want to use in the sick room but Egg Nog will be a great addition to your Thanksgiving meal, but go out and buy it. Do not forget the nut- meg though, I think some also add cinnamon rather than nutmeg.
Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation lists many things that we as a nation should thank God for on Thanksgiving Day and for that matter every day. After reading this I hope you will be able to agree with my mother’s regular statement that was repeated many times when I was growing up – “God is in His heaven and all is right with the world!”
Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 National Thanksgiving Proclamation
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been main- tained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the the- atre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national de- fense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settle- ments, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our benefi- cent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fer- vently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hun-dred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward, Secretary of State
A Blessed Thanksgiving to you all – George Munkenbeck