I’ve heard it stated a million different ways: “Thank you.” I’m guilty of saying it without truly meaning it. I know I’m not the only one. So often, we’re obliged to express our thanks by simply saying two words. It’s easy to just spit them out and not even really remember why we said it in the first place. We say it to the barista at the coffee shop. Ladies say it when someone opens a door for them. Men say it when someone compliments their golf game. Children say it, often at the prompting of Mom or Dad, when they’re given a gift. As a parent, I’ve worked to instill in my two children to say “thank you” every chance they get. I hear them say it many times; but sometimes, there’s a magical moment when I hear them say it from their heart. How my heart swells with pride to see genuine gratitude in their eyes.
I’ve entitled my article for this month Thanks-Living for this reason: There are times when we express thankfulness in our heart by our words, and there are other times that we express gratitude in our lives. One of the greatest ways we can express this is in song, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss all things Thanksgiving with two friends who just happen to be outstanding artists: Matt Fouch of Legacy Five, and Aaron Hise of the Whisnants.
The atmosphere of the Thanksgiving season is surrounded by things we all love: food, family, and more food! We can throw in some football for all who love sports, and the day just can’t get much better. Family traditions often are born during this time of the year. “We always get together on Thanksgiving Eve. It’s such a fun night!” Matt shares. Aaron added, “Our family’s tradition has always been to get together an extra day to celebrate the holiday. We love the tradition of just having more family time.”
As many readers have probably experienced, having more family around usually provides some free entertainment. Aaron’s story is too good not to share: “The most memorable Thanksgiving that I have ever experienced was when my mom had fixed the most beautiful dinner for me, my dad, and my brother. I was nine years old and my brother was 13. We both had been playing ball outside and came in for dinner. When we got to the table, the turkey had been placed on the edge of the table before we said the blessing. As we were praying, my brother was trying to make me laugh by poking my side. Well, when I tried to get away, I bumped the table just hard enough to make the turkey fall right onto the ground. Needless to say, we called the ‘ten second rule’ and enjoyed a great turkey!”
I haven’t had that kind of experience but one memorable experience for me, was as a boy with my cousin. We were given the daunting task of being the Thanksgiving-trash-taker-outers. We wore that badge with pride all day long. We were taking out one set of bags filled to the top and I opened one of the trash cans, when like a SCUD missile, the biggest opossum I’d ever encountered shot out of the trash can with every tooth in his face showing as he flew right by me. I’ll never forget it, and I’ll never blindly open a trashcan again!
Naturally, the subject of Thanksgiving-themed songs came up, and I asked Aaron and Matt what some of their favorite songs were along the theme of thankfulness. “The Easter Brothers put it best when they said, ‘There’s a roof up above me, I’ve a good place to sleep, there’s food on my table, and shoes on my feet. You gave me Your love, Lord, and a fine family, thank you, Lord, for Your blessings on me!’”1 Aaron said. Matt added, “Soul’d Out Quartet recorded a song called, “Thank You Lord.” My wife Candice and I had a beautiful moment one day just driving in the car and listening to this song.”
Obviously, when you get three grown men talking to each other, the subject of food came up. Aaron laid it all out for us. “All of the traditional items will be served this year: turkey, ham, green bean casserole, homemade yeast rolls, dressing, gravy, homemade macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, and the list keeps going on!” Matt added many of the same traditional menu items, but said that there was one thing he couldn’t live without on Thanksgiving: “Cool Whip for the pumpkin pie. I like a little pie with my Cool Whip.”
We could all put down a mile-long list of all the blessings we’ve enjoyed this year, but Matt Fouch and Aaron Hise each added specific things that they were thankful for. Matt tells us, “I’m thankful for the peace that passes all understanding! In the midst of a crazy life in a crazy world, as believers, we can have a peace beyond our human comprehension.” Aaron added, “I’m especially thankful this year for the family that God has blessed me with. Suzanne (Aaron’s wife, who sings with The Taylors) and I are expecting our first child in March (2016). We’re beyond excited!” That’s definitely something to be grateful for!
I mentioned as we began the article about the word Thanks-Living. Are we just saying “thank you,” or are we living “thank you?” My prayer for myself and for each of our readers is that we won’t just take one special Thursday that’s set aside, and rattle off an impromptu prayer to God for the many blessings He’s given us, but that we, like David the Psalmist, will take time to meditate and think upon the Lord’s goodness to us. His mercy endures forever, and his faithfulness is sure. My sincere thanks to Aaron Hise of the Whisnants and Matt Fouch of Legacy Five for their time and effort this month. Happy Thanks-Living, everyone!
By Matt Baker
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in November 2015
- “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me,” Easter, James and The Easter Brothers. Copyright 1975. Renewed 2003. LeFevre- Sing Publishing Company/BMI. (website c.October 21, 2015). www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0085124