Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
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.
All the world is God’s own field,
Fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown;
First the blade and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.
Few of us know the satisfaction a farmer feels when the season’s crops have been successfully harvested, yet we gladly sing this song at Thanksgiving time, knowing our food supply depends on the work of our country’s farmers, and acknowledging that we are grateful for an abundance of food. Let us also be sure that we who have plenty are unselfish enough to share with those who have less.
Henry Alford was a pastor from 1835 – 1853 in the little farming village of Wymeswold, England, where he was much-loved by the people under his care. He wrote this hymn for the English Harvest Festival, comparable to our Thanksgiving Holiday. His two-volume set of psalms and hymns was published in 1844.
Alford was born in 1810 and was an exceptional scholar. At age 6, he wrote a biography of the apostle Paul. At 10, he wrote a pamphlet: “Looking unto Jesus: the Believer’s Support under Trials and Afflictions”. Later, one of his deans at Cambridge said, “He was morally the bravest man I ever knew. His perfect purity of mind and singleness of purpose seemed to give him a confidence and unobtrusive self-respect which never failed him.” In 1853 Henry Alford accepted the pastorate of a large London church, and in 1857 he was appointed Dean of Canterbury, a position he held until he died rather suddenly in 1871.