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.
When I sing this first verse, I can't think of anything but the fields, the coming of the first frost, and the feeling of being "settled." In for the winter. Food has been stored. God has provided!
But, even in this first verse, as I mulled over the words, I can see the references to a very different harvest, made much more clear in the verses to come. Come, ye thankful people...to God's own temple...for our wants to be supplied!
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,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.
Verse three is really far-removed from the farmer harvesting his own field. But think about the metaphor here. After the harvest has been completed (the fruitful ears stored during those winter storms), the tares are cast into the fire. Bad weeds don't make for an easy growing season the next year.
The verse now puts Jesus, our Lord, as the harvester, to take HIS harvest (His fruitful, faithful) home for "evermore." "All offenses purge away," as He has taken away our sins from the beginning to the end. Are you thankful for that? And then the tares, those who do not come to believe in the life-saving message of the Lord will perish.
Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.
We are truly thankful for Your countless blessings upon us!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!