The Ephemeral Nature of Days… and of Gratitude

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word
Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God’s recreation of the new day
– lyrics written by Eleanor Farjeon in 1931, to be sung to the Scottish Highland tune “Bunessan”


Here we are, once again, in Spring – the season of rebirth and new life.  The Vernal Equinox happened recently, and that means that day and night are about equal parts of each 24-hour span. It also means we’re well into Lent – a period of reflection and preparation for Easter for Christians around the world.

In the spirit of the season, I ventured outdoors today to find that it had snowed again in our little corner of New England this morning. Hmmmm. I walked around our yard and did find signs of life. A chipmunk scampered across the back yard toward shelter under our deck. Birds were picking through the debris on the forest floor for material to build nests. Buds and pods have started on trees, vines, and bushes. Tomorrow, the nests will be closer to completion and the buds will be just a little bigger, despite today’s dusting.


So I found myself humming the familiar words: God’s re-creation of the new day.


Merriam Webster defines ephemeral as lasting one day only, or lasting a very short time. My Lenten meditation today is on gratitude, and that’s what gratitude often is – ephemeral. We’re thankful for a moment or a day, and then the little niggling things get to us and we forget to maintain that feeling – It’s snowing; I’m cold. I’m tired of this weather.

And that’s exactly why, in the midst of an economic and worldwide depression, a vicar commissioned beloved British children’s author Eleanor Farjeon to write words for a new children’s hymn to a familiar tune (an old Scots melody also used for a popular Christmas Carol of the time). He wanted a psalm that would remind both singers and listeners to be thankful for the Lord’s bounty every day. That hymn is Morning Has Broken, later also published as the poem A Morning Song for the First Day of Spring.

Many people I know first heard the song when Cat Stevens recorded it in 1971, but I remember singing it in church in the 50’s and 60’s in children’s choir. I even got to sing the middle verse as a solo once in church. My daughter sang it at her uncle’s wedding. And the words have never been lost on me. Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning. So much to be grateful for, whatever else is going on in the world. Praise with elation, praise every morning.

 Don’t let that grateful spirit slip away. Renew it every day.


Thanks to “BilboKepa” for posting this montage version of the song on YouTube:


This post was written in response to the weekly Travel Theme challenge by Ailsa of WheresMyBackpack: Outdoors   and  to the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral.  To see other bloggers’ creative entries and get more info on these challenges, just click on the links! 

My previous Lenten posts:


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18 Responses to The Ephemeral Nature of Days… and of Gratitude

  1. Pingback: Ephemeral | My Atheist Blog

  2. Pingback: April Fooled.. Last of the Literary Fest | litadoolan

  3. I first heard the song when Cat Stevens sung it. It’s a beautiful song with touching words. I’m glad you posted this for the challenge this week. It’s poignant. : )


  4. The words are wonderful. I did think Cat Stevens was the first. Thanks for putting me straight. 😉


  5. Leya says:

    I’m so glad every time you visit – and now – when I visit you, this song is one of my absolute favourites. And it must be Cat Stevens singing. It brings tears to my eyes every time. The piano is perfect and so is his voice to those words…Thank you for a beautiful post.


  6. It’s such a lovely song. How wonderful that it’s being revived! Such beautiful garden scenes. 🙂


  7. I had no idea that Eleanor Farjeon wrote those lyrics, but Ihave always loved that song. What a great post.


  8. Pingback: Travel Theme-Outdoors | WoollyMuses

  9. bebs1 says:

    They are beautiful lyrics really and if I only I could sing . . . living things or beings change everyday. It is best to enjoy them the best we can.


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