In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I offer you words from an old Swedish hymn of thanks, “Thanks to God,” or in the Swedish “Tack O Gud” (original Swedish lyrics by A.L. Storm; translated by Carl Backstrom; tune by J.A. Hultman). This hymn was often sung in the church tradition in which I was raised and which I’m still a part. Sometimes even a verse or two in Swedish was sung. I’ve always loved this hymn, its melody, the steady repetition of “Thanks for…”, and its acknowledgment that what is dark and painful often intermingles with that which is joyful.
Thanks to God for my Redeemer,
Thanks for all Thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a mem’ry,
Thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime,
Thanks for dark and stormy fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten,
Thanks for peace within my soul!
Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered,
Thanks for all Thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain, and thanks for pleasure,
Thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure,
Thanks for love beyond compare!
Thanks for roses by the wayside,
Thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for home and thanks for fireside,
Thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow,
Thanks for heav’nly peace with Thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow,
Thanks through all eternity!
For grace, hope, peace, and love, and for the giver of these, I give thanks.
[Photo: the brilliant red on the bare branches caught my eye]