Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
[Read at Thanksgiving Service in Waverly Church.]
All hail, thou grand Festival! glad are the hands
That crown thee with blossoms, and joyous the bands
Round thy tables of plenty, thine altars of praise,
Where the millions have gathered, their anthems to raise.
Thanksgiving for blessings a century old;
Ah, well may our hearts in their fulness unfold
As we wait on the threshold of an era sublime,
The pride of the nations, the marvel of time.
We join the glad anthems that tremble and ring
From ocean to ocean in praise of our King,
And then a new altar of gratitude rear
For blessings peculiar, vouchsafed to us here.
No temple more sacred than ours, to-day,
Nor feet ever readier to tread the glad way
To the Holy of Holies, to gratefully raise
Our prayers of thanksgiving, our peans of praise.
One year with its mercies; recount them to-day,
These love-laden mercies that garland our way,
The year that began with foreboding and fears,
Whose bow in the clouds was prayer shining through tears.
Ah! the shadows were dark that were over us then,
And we looked lor the "lining of silver," in vain;
Our faltering faith scarce could pilot us through;
Our courage was waning, our numbers were few.
Then came to our rescue, (Heaven sent her this way,)
Our sister, God honored, we bless her to-day,
Her hands held the sickle for the reapers to come,
And we shouted together the glad "harvest home."
Unstop the glad organ, send strain after strain,
'Till these old walls shall echo and echo again
With an anthem more glorious, a thousand times o'er
Than ever has rung through its portals before.
For Heaven has bent till the sun of its love
Has tinged these dull walls like the glory above,
And the wing of the seraph has rustled, I ween,
The darkness of sin and God's sunlight, between.
The young man and maiden, and life in its prime,
And the child in the freshness of life's sweet spring-time,
And the husband and wife, blest bethrothal ta share,
Have knelt at the altar for pardon and prayer.
There are voices to-day in thanksgiving and song
That were silent and tuneless in years that are gone,
And the shout of the angels has sounded again
As they wrote on the fair book of life each new name.
But a shepherd was asked, lest the lambs lose their way,
And the flock should be scattered, and wander astray,
And now to the prayer " Lord, by whonq wilt thou send?"
We greeted our brother as pastor and friend.
So we gather to-day in this home ot our God,
With a greeting for loved ones anear and abroad,
And as here, with our greetings and gladness we come,
We would we might welcome each wanderer home.
How I love the old custom, grown dearer with time.
The genuine thanksgiving of "Auld Lang Syne,"
When the family, wide scattered, back thronging would come
To meet the warm kiss and the s,weet welcome home.
When the old-fashioned table with dainties was spread,
And father sat down in his place at the head
With his family around him, once children at home,
With a plate in reserve for the wandering one.
And the mother's eye glistened as they drew round the board,
And the father's voice choked in the blessing implored,
With a prayer for the "wanderer" echoed by all.
As they hoped for his coming and longed for his call.
Such the olden " thanksgiving" remembered and blest,
That points to a grander re-union at last,
When the children shall come from the West and the East
To song and rejoicing, to welcome and feast.
O! to hear the "Come in" from the royal pearl-gate
Where the Father for each of his children shall wait,
While the bright hills of glory shall echo and ring,
As they welcome the long coming wanderer in.
All Hail! then, Thanksgiving, like mile-posts that stand
Each, in turn drawing nearer some city at hand,
So ye are the waymarks that yearly ascend
Toward a glorious thanksgiving that never shall end.
Source: For Friendship's Sake ©1882