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Come ye thankful people come, raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms 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.
Holidays are all about the family gathering together and celebrating. For many years, I took this for granted. Our small house in Castile, NY was filled to capacity many times with grandparents, siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, in-laws, etc. My sister-in-law's home was also bursting at the doorways with people. Card tables were erected for the kids. The kitchen was in chaos--someone was making gravy, another mashing potatoes, the turkey was being carved, and kids were running through, playing tag. It was the usual holiday pandemonium and then the meal was served. Other than the clatter of dishes and the clank of silverware, the decibel level lowered significantly. By the time dessert rolled around, we were semi-comatose in a haze of carbohydrate over-indulgence.
This scene is probably quite typical for many American families. The Thanksgiving feast is a symbol of the bounty of the country in which we live, the material blessings we've been given, and our cultural bent to excess. We love choices, and the abundance of side dishes on the table sure give us plenty at this time of year. It's also a time to get as many people around the table as we can. That's the real blessing, families, friends, and yes, even strangers around the table.
Celebrations around the table are special. The intimacy of eating a meal together is something we all crave. It doesn't matter what we're eating, but that we're together. That gathering is mentioned many times in Scripture.
David wrote about it in Psalm 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Solomon in The Song of Solomon 2:4 Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.
The prophet Isaiah talking about the great feast to come. Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine— the best of meats and the finest of wines.
A comment from one at the table eating with Jesus. Luke 14:15 When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”
As you sit down down to that wonderful meal this week, give thanks for the bounty of the table--for those who sit around it, God's provision of food, and the great celebration feast yet to come.
Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring thy final harvest home;
gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from
sin, there, forever purified, in thy presence to abide;
come with all thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.