It was the day before Thanksgiving. In her kitchen, pretty little Margaret Lane was preparing a Thanksgiving dinner, the first one in the pretty home over which she had come to preside but a short six months before.
The turkey was already in the baker, and her nimble fingers were busy fashioning a plum pudding.
Her heart was so light that almost unconsciously she burst into song.
The room was small and the day warm, so she had left the door partly open, and her sweet voice floated out into the street.
A man passing by paused to listen:
"When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."
The man passed on, but the words seemed to ring in his ears. A cynical smile curled his lips. "Count my blessings, indeed," he muttered: "I wonder what they are. I presume that sweet little singer back there would say my wealth, but it has never brought me one happy moment, not one."
Then some way, it seemed to him that the pages of his life swept back, and he saw again a fair face bend above him, a face so pure it might have been an angel's. His whole life had been softened by her influence. Surely he must count the memory of a Christian mother among his blessings.
There was another, too, away back in his younger day, he had named the sweet name wife, and a tiny daughter nestled in his arms. But not for long. God took them from the sorrow here to the joy over there. Yet the happiness of those short months was very clear to him.
His face grew thoughtful. Was it not a blessing to have such treasures in Heaven? Tears came to the eyes that had long been strangers to them, as the meaning of the song seemed to be brought home to him, and he said, "I will arise and go to my father."
And Margaret sang on:
"Are you ever burdened heavy with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by."
The woman across the street shut the door with a slam. "Little she knows about it. Wait until she has to work as I do, and she won't find time to sing or count her blessings either." But the words of the song were with her. Burdened she surely was, for her health was not very good, and there were little ones to do for, and yet, "Count your blessings, name them one by one." The word came to her in spite of the closed door, and she smiled grimly as she thought:
"Tom is well and has plenty of work, that is one, I suppose; and does not spend his money for strong drink as some do. Then our home is paid for, and the children are well and good to help me." A look of surprise came over her face, and she wondered that there was so much for her to be thankful for after all. The words of the song held a new meaning for her, and she found herself trying to hum the air as she went about her many tasks.
"When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in Heaven, nor your home on high."
A young girl heard the words as she hurried to school. "I believe I needed just those words to set me right," she thought. "I am afraid I was envious this morning because Mabel had such a beautiful new suit and I must wear my old one. I was cross about it, too, and it will worry Mamma, for she is doing all she can for me, and:" Her face paled as she thought, "Mabel has no Mamma, I am sure she would be willing to wear old clothes if she could only have her dear Mamma. What would I care for money without my dear Mother to share it? I will never worry her again; and I will tell her so at noon, too," and she passed into the schoolroom.
"So, amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey's end."
"It will not be long either," murmured a poor old woman, as she toiled painfully along. The end is not far off, and my greatest blessing is that it is so. I was feeling discouraged this morning to think my Master kept me waiting so long, but He knows best. Aye, He will help and comfort me to the end. I am glad I heard the singer; God bless her!"
The pudding was finished, and so was the song. Margaret, with a high heart, began putting the little kitchen to rights, not knowing that while she sang, four souls had been brought nearer to their Maker. And that on the morrow each would return thanks for blessings overlooked in the hurry of the world until a song, heard by chance, set them right.
Or, was it really chance or a part of God's Divine Plan? Who can say?
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name."