(Editor’s note: For decades, Chicago Tribune columnist Joan Beck memorialized each year with a poetic column of thanksgiving. The verses below are our attempt to follow her example and remember the blessings of 2023.)
As we gather together to count the Lord’s blessings, 403 years after the first Thanksgiving Day, we wonder at the beauty of God’s creation. For double rainbows and blue moons, four seasons and family pets, all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small. We thank you, Lord, for them all.
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the works Thy hands hath made, the blessings that come to mind quickest are the everyday gifts: food on our table and family around it. Faithful friends ready with last-minute childcare or a freezer meal. A church, imperfect, but dogged in her determination to love well, no matter the sacrifices required.
Neighbors, undaunted by miles or shuffled schedules, arriving with heavy machinery and yellow hats. They cut down trees and hauled away debris, and stayed as long as they were needed.
Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy praise, for these and all gifts in the year past and the years to come.
For small things: new Bluey episodes just in time for a road trip and National Taco Day (even on a Wednesday). For bigger blessings: dedicated teachers and kind librarians. Compassionate nurses and patient doctors. For hands to hold through diagnoses, relapses, and remissions. On those days and every day, You’re a good, good Father.
We thank you for leaders who have walked through the hardships of 2023 with courage and grace. And for others who have struggled, asking forgiveness, and reminding us that all have fallen short, and yet, there is grace greater than all sin.
All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and let us sing, of the deep, deep love of Jesus for sinners such as us. For a child’s big question with an easy answer: Does God really love me that much? He does.
As we near the end of this year, anchor our hearts in the surety of Your love, Your kindness, Your goodness, Your desire that no one would perish, but that all would know everlasting life through Jesus.
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Meredith Day Flynn is a wife and mother of two living in Springfield. She writes on the intersection of faith, family, and current culture.