COME, YE THANKFUL PEOPLE, is considered to be one of the most chosen harvest-thanksgiving hymns still today. It was written for the English harvest festivals. Praise to God for the harvest was celebrated during the various harvest times each year. The author is Henry “Dean” Alford.
Born in October 1910, Henry determined at the age of 16 to follow in the footsteps of several generations in his family, including his father. In answer to God’s call on his life, he become a respected clergyman in the Anglican church. He was respected for his Biblical teaching, studies and writings. It is no wonder that his death was mourned all across the Christian world.
The first stanza is an invitation and an exhortation to give thanks to God in the earthly temple – His Church – for the care and provision of our needs. The next two stanzas are an interesting commentary on the parable of the wheat and the tares. The final verse is a prayer for the Lord’s return – “The final harvest home!”
It is said that at the end of a hard day’s work and at the end of every meal it was a customary practice for Henry to stand to his feet and give thanks to God for the blessings just received.