By Carol Dixon —
God gives us freely
hearts that are thankful,
strength for the task,
people who love us,
joy in our service,
all we have need of
if we but ask.
God will be with us
in all our thinking,
in all our speaking,
in all we do;
and as we praise him
by all our actions,
he will be with us,
seeing us through.
God in the morning,
God in the noontide,
God in the evening,
throughout the day;
God is within us,
and all around us,
behind, before us
all of the way.
© Carol Dixon 1998
October for me is a month of thanksgiving with its glorious autumn colours and joyous harvest celebrations. (It also happens to be my husband’s birthday – which he shares with one of our granddaughters!) November though is an entirely different kettle of fish. Dark dreary days when the damp cold seeps into my bones and as soon as early November arrives my spirits slump and my soul often seems as fogbound as the weather. So how can this month be a season of gratitude? Yet God has a way of breaking through the mist of misery by reminding me of ways to discover pointers to praise.
When my brother and I were confined to the house as youngsters by the relentless drizzle we used to hold raindrop races – choosing one particular raindrop on the window to follow as it slowly made its way down the glass to see which one arrived at the bottom first. We often accompanied it by singing the children’s song which went something like this: ‘ Down came the raindrops on a cloudy day, washing all the pavements, cleaning dirt away. Pitter patter pit, pat, this is how they came, thank you God for sending us the soft refreshing rain’ and it still reminds how necessary water is for life and how thankful we should be, not only for clean water to drink but for Jesus, the living water who refreshes and sustains our spirits in the arid times on our faith journey.
As a hymn writer most of my thanksgiving is in the form of music. In my childhood I thought that since I was called Carol (meaning Song of joy) I was meant to sing and, despite being very shy, if people asked me to sing for them, I did. So singing for me is the most natural way of expressing my gratitude to God. The above hymn ‘Every new morning’ came to me one morning in my daily devotions – words & music together as I offered praise to God*. I first discovered the gift God had given me of composing hymns when I was laid aside with illness some years ago and couldn’t get to church each week as usual so it was in a time of ‘exile’ in my life that I learned to ‘Sing the Lord’s song in a strange land’ and I am so blessed and humbled that my hymns seem to speak to people who are struggling to find a way to praise and thank God.
So if dull dark days (or arid dry days) are getting you down you might like to think about your favourite hymn of thanksgiving? How does it change your attitude to life when you sing it? My favourite hymn is ‘Give to me Lord a thankful heart’ by Revd .Caryl Micklem – a wonderful prayer for God’s grace to live in a spirit of thankfulness. I hope you enjoy it below too!
Give to me, Lord, a thankful heart
And a discerning mind;
Give, as I play the Christian’s part,
The strength to finish what I start
And act on what I find.
When, in the rush of days, my will
Is habit bound and slow,
Help me to keep in vision, still,
What love and power and peace can fill
A life that trusts in you.
By your divine and urgent claim,
And by your human face,
Kindle our sinking hearts to flame,
And as you teach the world your name
Let it become your place.
Jesus, with all your church I long
To see your kingdom come:
Show me your way of righting wrong
And turning sorrow into song
Until you bring me home.
© Caryl Micklem
Whether the weather is dismal or sunny, whether your life is sad or happy, may you always have a song of gratitude in your heart.
*(In the Church of Scotland hymnbook it is set to the tune Bunessan – Morning has broken. If you would like a copy of my original music I will be happy to email it.
# 1: I love the fall like you with colorful leaves: Maple in the northeast USA & aspen in the Rocky Mountains. I have a jigsaw puzzle with the Maple and a 16X21 inch picture above my bed.
#2 John Michael Ralbot: The Franciscan balladeer who sings a song like this:
God in the morning. God in the evening. God in your sorrows. God in your joys, etc.
#3 rain: Thanks to Christine, I have given out my “All Saint’s Day” tracts as an alternative to
Halloween. She spoke about liking to walk in the rain. I give out about 50 each AM.
Today and last week I gave them out in the rain. Today the temperature is 76 degrees for me
to wear a long sleeve shirt. My golfer’s hat had so much water that I could squeeze water out of it.
#4″ The spider climbed up the water spout. The rain came down and washed the spider out.
The sun came out again such that she walked back up the water spout again.”
Is the last poem the only part that Caryl Micklem wrote? Could her name be Carol Ann who lives in Highland Ranch Colorado?