Favorite Thanksgiving Poems, Hymns & Scriptures

Thanksgiving Poems, Hymns & Scriptures

Add meaning and warmth to your family’s holiday celebrations with this collection of Thanksgiving poems, hymns & scriptures.

Keep this list handy and simply read a poem at the breakfast table, sing a hymn at the dinner table, or share a scripture at your Thanksgiving meal.  It’s a simple way to elevate your Thanksgiving traditions beyond turkey and sweet potatoes!

LIGHTHEARTED COLLECTIONS 

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1. It’s Thanksgiving  (Jack Prelutsky)

Jack Prelutsky is one of our all-time favorite children’s poets.  Maybe one day I’ll do a post on our favorite Prelutsky poems….This collection of Thanksgiving poems is very light-hearted and humorous, in typical JP style.

NOTE:  We have this older version and I like the illustrations much better than the new I Can Read version.

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2. Thanksgiving Day at Our House  (Nancy White Carlstrom; R.W. Alley)

Another light-hearted collection of Thanksgiving-themed poetry, from the author of our beloved Jesse Bear series. 

POEMS FOR GIVING THANKS

3. Thanksgiving

Thank You
for all My Hands Can Hold –
Apples Red
and Melons Gold,
Yellow Corn
both Ripe and Sweet,
Peas and Beans
so Good to Eat!

Thank You
for all my Eyes Can See –
Lovely Sunlight,
Field and Tree,
White Cloud-Boats
in Sea-Deep Sky,
Soaring Bird
and Butterfly.

Thank You
for all My Ears Can Hear –
Birds’ Song Echoing
Far and Near,
Songs of Little
Stream, Big Sea,
Cricket, Bullfrog,
Duck and Bee

~~Ivy O. Eastwick

4. We Thank Thee

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

5. A Thanksgiving Blessing

May all who share these gifts today
Be blessed by Thee, we humbly pray.

What God gives and what we take
‘Tis a gift for Christ his sake;

Be the meal of beans or peas,
God be thanked for those and these;

Have we flesh or have we fish,
All are fragments from His dish.

~~Robert Herrick

6. A Thanksgiving

For summer rains, and winter’s sun,
For autumn breezes crisp and sweet;
For labors doing, to be done,
And labors all complete;
For April, May, and lovely June,
For bud, and bird, and berried vine;
For joys of morning, night, and noon,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For loving friends on every side;
For children full of joyous glee;
For all the blessed Heavens wide,
And for the sounding sea;
For mountains, valleys, forests deep;
For maple, oak, and lofty pine;
For rivers on their seaward sweep,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

For light and air, for sun and shade,
For merry laughter and for cheer;
For music and the glad parade
Of blessings through the year;
For all the fruitful earth’s increase,
For home and life, and love divine,
For hope, and faith, and perfect peace,
My thanks, dear Lord, are Thine!

~~John Kendrick Bangs

7. Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.

Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.

Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.

Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later ’twill all be understood.

Thankful for peace o’er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.

Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

~~Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer

8. A Thanksgiving Poem

The sun hath shed its kindly light,
Our harvesting is gladly o’er,
Our fields have felt no killing blight,
Our bins are filled with goodly store.

From pestilence, fire, flood, and sword
We have been spared by thy decree,
And now with humble hearts, O Lord,
We come to pay our thanks to thee.

We feel that had our merits been
The measure of thy gifts to us,
We erring children, born of sin,
Might not now be rejoicing thus.

No deed of ours hath brought us grace;
When thou wert nigh our sight was dull,
We hid in trembling from thy face,
But thou, O God, wert merciful.

Thy mighty hand o’er all the land
Hath still been open to bestow
Those blessings which our wants demand
From heaven, whence all blessings flow.

Thou hast, with ever watchful eye,
Looked down on us with holy care,
And from thy storehouse in the sky
Hast scattered plenty everywhere.

Then lift we up our songs of praise
To thee, O Father, good and kind;
To thee we consecrate our days;
Be thine the temple of each mind.

With incense sweet our thanks ascend;
Before thy works our powers pall;
Though we should strive years without end,
We could not thank thee for them all.

~~Paul Laurence Dunbar (from Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadow)

9. A Prayer

Lord, behold our family here assembled. We thank thee for this place in which we dwell, for the love that unites us, for the peace accorded to us this day, for the health, for the food, and the bright skies that make our lives delightful, for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Give us courage, gaiety, and the quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften us to our enemies. Bless us, if may be, in all our innocent endeavours. If may not, give us the strength to encounter that which is to come.May we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath, and in all changes of fortune loyal and loving to one another.
As the clay to the potter, as the windmill to the wind, as the children of their sire, we beseech of Thee this help and mercy for Christs sake. Amen.

~~Robert Louis Stevenson (author of A Child’s Garden of Verses)

10. (from) The Supper of Thanksgiving

For the bread and for the wine,
For the pledge that seals Him mine,
For the words of love divine,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the body and the blood,
For the more than angel’s food,
For the boundless grace of God,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the chalice whence we sip
Moisture for the parched lip,
For the board of fellowship,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the feast of love and peace
Bidding all our sorrows cease,
Earnest of the kingdom’s bliss,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the paschal lamb here given,
For the loaf without the leaven,
For the manna dropt from heaven,
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

Only bread and only wine,
Yet to faith the solemn sign
Of the heavenly and divine!
We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

~~Horatius Bonar

HISTORIC POEMS

11. Landing of the Pilgrims

The breaking waves dashed high,
On a stern and rock-bound coast,
And the woods against a stormy sky
Their giant branches tossed;

And the heavy night hung dark
The hills and waters o’er,
When a band of exiles moored their bark
On the wild New England shore.

Not as the conqueror comes,
They, the true-hearted came;
Not with the roll of the stirring drums,
And the trumpet that sings of fame;

Not as the flying come,
In silence and in fear;–
They shook the depths of the desert gloom
With their hymns of lofty cheer.

Amidst the storm they sang,
And the stars heard, and the sea;
And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang
To the anthem of the free!

The ocean eagle soared
From his nest by the white wave’s foam;
And the rocking pines of the forest roared–
This was their welcome home!

There were men with hoary hair
Amidst that pilgrim band:
Why had they come to wither there,
Away from their childhood’s land?

There was woman’s fearless eye,
Lit by her deep love’s truth;
There was manhood’s brow serenely high,
And the fiery heart of youth.

What sought they thus afar?
Bright jewels of the mine?
The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?–
They sought a faith’s pure shrine!

Ay, call it holy ground,
The soil where first they trod.
They have left unstained what there they found–
Freedom to worship God.

~~Felicia Dorothea Hemans

12. The Pilgrim Fathers

O God, beneath Thy guiding hand
Our exiled fathers crossed the sea;
And when they trod the wintry strand,
With prayer and psalm they worshipped Thee.

Thou heard’st, well pleased, the song, the prayer:
Thy blessing came; and still its power
Shall onward through all ages bear
The memory of that holy hour.

Laws, freedom, truth, and faith in God
Came with those exiles o’er the waves;
And where their pilgrim feet have trod,
The God they trusted guards their graves.

And here Thy name, O, God of love,
Their children’s children shall adore,
Till these eternal hills remove,
And spring adorns the earth no more.

~~Leonard Bacon

13. Song of the Pilgrims

The breeze has swelled the whitening sail,
The blue waves curl beneath the gale,
And, bounding with the wave and wind,
We leave Old England’s shores behind —
Leave behind our native shore,
Homes, and all we loved before.

The deep may dash, the winds may blow,
The storm spread out its wings of woe,
Till sailors’ eyes can see a shroud
Hung in the folds of every cloud;
Still, as long as life shall last,
From that shore we’ll speed us fast.

For we would rather never be,
Than dwell where mind cannot be free,
But bows beneath a despot’s rod
Even where it seeks to worship God.
Blasts of heaven, onward sweep!
Bear us o’er the troubled deep!

O see what wonders meet our eyes!
Another land, and other skies!
Columbian hills have met our view!
Adieu! Old England’s shores, adieu!
Here, at length, our feet shall rest,
Hearts be free, and homes be blessed.

As long as yonder firs shall spread
Their green arms o’er the mountains head —
As long as yonder cliffs shall stand,
Where join the ocean and the land —
Shall those cliffs and mountains be
Proud retreats for liberty.

Now to the King of kings we’ll raise
The paean loud of sacred praise:
More loud than sounds the swelling breeze,
More loud than speak the rolling seas!
Happier lands have met our view!
England’s shores, adieu! adieu!

~~Thomas Cogswell Upham

SONGS & HYMNS

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14. The New-England Boy’s Song About Thanksgiving Day  (aka: Over The River And Through The Woods)

[Also available as a beautifully illustrated children’s book, pictured above.]

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop
For doll or top,
For ‘t is Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play–
Hear the bells ring
Ting a ling ding,
Hurra for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood–
No matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound,
For ‘t is Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate;
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood–
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood–
When grandmother sees us come,
She will say, Oh dear,
The children are here,
Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood–
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurra for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurra for the pumpkin pie!

~~Lydia Maria Child

15. The Johnny Appleseed Song

Oh, the Lord is good to me,
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need:
The sun, the rain and the appleseed:
The Lord is good to me.

~~attributed to John Chapman, aka “Johnny Appleseed”

16. 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.

For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
All offenses purge away;
Give His angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come
To 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.

~~Henry Alford
(This is the hymn that Frank the cabbie sang in The Magician’s Nephew, just before Aslan began creating Narnia. Lyrics, more info and audio files here.)

A collection of meaningful and lighthearted poems, hymns & scriptures to enjoy with your family at Thanksgiving. | Yankee Homestead
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17. For the Beauty of The Earth

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.

Refrain:
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

~~Folliot S. Pierpoint
[Click here for complete lyrics, audio files, sheet music, background info and a short devotional.]

18. Now Thank We All Our God

Now thank we all our God
With heart and hands and voices
Who wondrous things hath done,
In whom his world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms,
Hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.

~~Martin Rinkart

[Click here for complete lyrics, audio files, sheet music, background info and a short devotional.]

19. We Gather Together

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name; He forgets not His own.

~~ Adri­an­us Va­ler­ius

(This is the hymn sung by Maggie, Grandmother, & friends in Cranberry Thanksgiving).

[Click here for complete lyrics, audio files, sheet music, and more.]

Idea: 

While most of these hymns can be found in standard hymnals, I chose to make our own little Thanksgiving Hymns Packets by printing out the sheet music of the four hymns listed below.  I made three copies of the packet and we keep them at our dining table.  Most nights during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, we choose a hymn to sing at dinner time instead of our customary prayer.

OTHER POEMS

20. Thanksgiving Time

When the night winds whistle through the trees and blow the crisp brown leaves a-crackling down,
When the autumn moon is big and yellow-orange and round,
When old Jack Frost is sparkling on the ground,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!

When the pantry jars are full of mince-meat and the shelves are laden with sweet spices for a cake,
When the butcher man sends up a turkey nice and fat to bake,
When the stores are crammed with everything ingenious cooks can make,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!

When the gales of coming winter outside your window howl,
When the air is sharp and cheery so it drives away your scowl,
When one’s appetite craves turkey and will have no other fowl,
It’s Thanksgiving Time!

~~Langston Hughes

A collection of meaningful and lighthearted poems, hymns & scriptures to enjoy with your family at Thanksgiving. | Yankee Homestead
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21. Thanksgiving Song

Thanksgiving comes but once a year,
But when it comes it brings good cheer.
For in my storehouse on this day
Are piles of good things hid away.
Each day I’ve worked from early morn
To gather acorns, nuts, and corn,
Till now I’ve plenty and to spare
Without a worry or a care.
So light of heart the whole day long,
I’ll sing a glad Thanksgiving song.

~~from Happy Jack Squirrel by Thornton W. Burgess (author of Burgess Bird Book for Children &  Burgess Animal Book for Children, etc.)

SCRIPTURE PASSAGES

22. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

23. Luke 17:11-19

Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

24. Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

25. Psalm 111

Praise the Lord.

I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

Great are the works of the Lord;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

A collection of meaningful and lighthearted poems, hymns & scriptures to enjoy with your family at Thanksgiving. | Yankee Homestead
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

4 Comments

  1. livelovealive on 11/23/2016 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you so much for gathering this together. It makes this grammy glad to not search for these well-loved hymns and poems. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Kathleen on 11/24/2016 at 7:15 pm

      Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

  2. Bethany Cropsey on 11/22/2018 at 1:55 am

    Hi Kathleen!

    Thank you for these wonderful ideas, songs, poems and scripture. You always have great resources.

    I was looking to maybe print out the lyrics to the hymns you have listed, but only two are coming up with a link. When I click your link for the lyrics to the song “Now thank we all our God”, “for the Beauty of the Earth” comes up. And for “Come ye thankful people come” there is an error message. I just thought you might want to know!

    Thanks again,

    Bethany C

    • Kathleen on 11/26/2018 at 10:04 pm

      Hi Bethany! Sorry about that. There are actually two links for each of those songs, and at least one link was working (if you clicked on the title of the hymn, sorry: maybe that wasn’t very obvious?) But thanks for letting me know about those broken links; they are now fixed! Hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! 🙂

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