Hymns for Thanksgiving (USA: last Thursday in November)

A selection of hymns and songs suitable for Thanksgiving church or worship services.

Most are free-to-use (ie public domain or copyright-free) meaning the words can be copied and sung to at least one tune with no concerns about copyright or performance licensing - sometimes in a limited setting.

A small selection of hymns that are still copyright may also be included, if they are particularly appropriate.

Seasonal note

Thanksgiving is a northern-hemisphere holiday, with roots in the traditional religious Harvest Festival, but greatly adapted to the particular cultural and social situation.

In the USA, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, and is a secular holiday.  It is usually regarded as remembering a celebration in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation when the Pilgrims (religious refugees from England) invited the indigenous Americans to a feast to celebrate the successful harvest, and to thanks them for their help after the harvest failure the previous year. However there were other "thanksgiving" events in American history which also contribute to the appropriateness of a national day of thanks in this season of the year. These include September 8 1565 (feast of the birth of the Blessed Virgin), when Native Americans and Spanish settlers in Florida held a feast and celebrated Mass, and an event in 1598, when Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate requested the friars to say a Mass of Thanksgiving before he formally claimed the land north of the Rio Grande for the King of Spain.

In Canada, some people attribute modern Thanksgiving to 1578 when an explorer, Martin Frobisher, held a celebration but to give thanks for surviving the perilous journey from England amid storms and icebergs. Other link it more to Harvest celebrations from France. Today it is marked on the second Monday in October.

The diverse background to the holiday means that a range of different hymns may be suitable for church services on or close to Thanksgiving day.
  • Virtually all hymns or Harvest Festival services are appropriate.
  • Patriotic American or Canadian hymns
  • Hymns focussed on thanking God - either something specific, or for simply existing and being known to human-kind.
A range of suggestions - mostly but not all free-use - are given below, organized by category.

Free-use hymns for thanks-giving

A Thanksgiving (I Thank Thee O my God)

Come ye Thankful People Come

Count Your Blessings

Dakota Hymn (Many and Great)

Father of Mercies in Thy Word

Father Whate'er of Earthly Bliss

For All The Blessings of the Year

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the Fruit of His Creation

For Thy Mercy and Thy Grace

From all That Dwell Below the Skies

Give Thanks to God Most High

Give Thanks to God the Lord  - Petersen

Give Thanks Unto the Lord Jehovah

God of our Fathers Whose Almighty Hand

God Opens Wide His Hand

Great God of Nations Now to Thee

How Good it is to Thank the Lord

In Our Day of Thanksgiving

Lord we Thank Thee for the Pleasure

My God I Thank Thee

O Give Thanks to Him Who Made

O Lord all Glorious Life of Life

O Praise ye the Lord Praise Him in the Height

O Render Thanks to God Above

O Thou Whose Bounty Fills my Cup

Over the River and Through the Woods

Sing to the Lord a Joyful Song

Sing to the Lord of Harvest

Songs of Praise the Angels Sang

Thank Him for the Sunshine - public domain in the US, possibly not elsewhere

Thou Gracious Power

To Thee Eternal Soul be Praise

To Thee O God we Render Thanks

We Lift Our Hearts In Thanks Today

We Thank You Lord - Petersen

With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring

Whole Hearted Thanksgiving to Thee I will Bring

Free-use patriotic hymns (American)

All Praise and Glad Thanksgiving  - Farrell

America the Beautiful

God Bless Our Native Land

O Say Can You See by the Dawn's Early Light

Thanksgiving hymns for children

For Thy Gracious Blessing  (a round)

If You’re Thankful and You Know it - a variation of "If you're Happy ..."

Hymns which may still be copyright

All My Days  - Murray/Schutte

Father, We Thank Thee Who hast Planted - Tucker

Give Thanks to the Lord - Schutte

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart - Smith

God, Whose Giving Knows no Ending - Edwards

In Thanksgiving and Love - Nnam

In the Lord I'll be Ever Thankful - Taizé / Berthier

Let All Things Now Living - David

Lift up your Voice- Fawcett

Lord it is Good - Talbot

Once Again - Redman

Song of Thanksgiving - Norbert

Thanks be to God - Dean

See also ....

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