Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Thanksgiving – It’s Still Ours Today

by | November 14, 2014 | 12 comments

Eilenburg, GermanyEilenburg was known as a center for German Reformation, prosperous and even boasting a walled exterior by the late sixteenth century. It was greatly favored by its Duke, George of Saxony.

Martin Luther called it a blessed lard pit.

Then came the Thirty Years’ War. By that time, Martin Rinkart (1586 – 1649) had become one of four pastors serving the town. Hundreds of refugees fleeing the fighting had taken shelter in Eilenburg and soon disease spread, culminating in the Great Pestilence. Afterwards came famine and it was not uncommon to see wretches in the street fighting over dead animals to eat.

One of the pastors fled the town and refused to return. The other two died, leaving Rinkart to officiate at their funerals in addition to many, many more, almost 4,500 in all. Not even his wife was spared.

Nevertheless, Rinkart still found time to compose prayer. The following offer of thanksgiving is his most famous, written to comfort his children:

Happy ThanksgivingNow thank we all our God

With hearts and hands and voices;

Who wondrous things hath done,

In whom this world rejoices.

Who, from our mother’s arms,

Hath led us on our way,

With countless gifts of love,

And still is ours today.

reposted (with minor adjustments) from Angelyn’s blog 


  1. Ella Quinn

    That is heartbreaking and lovely! Thank you so much! I shared.

  2. Norma Frlaey

    Would love to read the book if there is one. Have always loved History.

    • Angelyn Schmid

      Someone needs to write one, that’s for sure. Rinkart would make a great character. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Lily Dewaruile

    Thank you for giving us a look into the depths of meaning of thanksgiving. The prayer is touching. In the USA, we tend to think of Thanksgiving as something unique to us. In the British Isles and Christian Europe, Thanksgiving is a religious celebration, observed in October and is connected to the Church calendar, linked to the harvest season. In Canada (with the exception of the Atlantic provinces – where my maternal ancestors originated), Thanksgiving is also in October. In the USA, Thanksgiving became a national holiday (still with religious connotations) on a fixed date in 1863 as an act of unity between the States at war by President Lincoln, but the seceded States didn’t recognize the date until Reconstruction in the 1870s. Happy Thanksgiving, in whatever way you celebrate!

    • Angelyn Schmid

      Thanks for that additional information, Lily–Thanksgiving in Europe was a serious business. I’m planning a Thanksgiving Day post on my own blog about Regency England’s day of Thanksgiving ordered by the Regent to commemorate peace after the Napoleonic Wars.

  4. Barbara Bettis

    How very sad. He sounds like a remarkable man. Tweeted

    • Angelyn Schmid

      That was sad but I’m glad you liked it, Barbara–

  5. Barbara Monajem

    Beautiful. Tweeted and shared.

  6. RK Barclay

    True heroes are those who can maintain a thankful heart in the midst of so much loss. Thanks for sharing.



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