Moving beyond "Over the River and Through the Woods."
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, as well as the greater holiday season heralded by the appearance of ol’ St. Nick at the end of the Thanksgiving Day Parade, we can’t help but notice that there isn’t much music specific to this national holiday. From Thanksgiving on we have no trouble finding all manner of holiday tunes, but the songs about Thanksgiving are few and far between.
What we need is a song that takes a Thanksgiving dinner prayer and puts it to music. The song has to be catchy and it would be preferable if we could thank God for all that He has given to us, much as the Pilgrims did roughly 500 years ago. Of course, it would surely become more popular if we could get one of the biggest names in Catholic music to sing it.
Well, the long search is over, because Matt Maher has once again shown that he knew what we needed to hear long before we did. In 2011, Maher released “Lead Me Home” on his album Empty and Beautiful. While it wasn’t specifically written for Thanksgiving, its lyrics highlight all the best parts of the holiday:
Thank you for the crossThank you for your loveThe perfect sacrifice of praise to God aboveThank you for the giftThank you for the priceOf losing everything to gain eternal lifeThank you, Thank you, Thank you
The song opens just as we had hoped, with a verse that gives thanks for all God has given to us. The music is calm at first, giving the impression of a slow-moving household on a lazy Thanksgiving. It opens up a bit in the middle to include some pop-rock guitars, which bring to mind “Hey Leonardo,” by Blessed Union of Souls.
The second half of the song develops into a plea for God to lead us home, where we all should be on Thanksgiving. The song is about renewal of faith and love, as well as the acknowledgement that the good things in our life, as well as our lives in general, are all gifts from God, meant to be cherished and met with gratitude.
This year, when it comes time to gather for the Thanksgiving mealtime prayer, just turn on Maher’s “Lead Me Home,” and see just how relevant it is to everyone gathered around the table.