I once had a rich uncle


Before he died at the age of 96 last year, “Uncle Hugh” was one of the world’s wealthiest men, with a treasure trove that exceeded anything I’d ever heard of.  He was overwhelmingly generous with his riches, dispensing every bit of the love and joy and encouragement he owned to everyone he knew.

The world knew him best as the composer of many Broadway hits from the 40s and 50s, with his biggest hit being “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, written for Judy Garland in 1944 for the musical “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  That lovely piece of music has rung out in shopping malls, elevators, and car radios ever since and does a great job of heralding in the Christmas season like no other.  You may have heard the recording he and I made of the new version of that song whereby he had rewritten the words, top to bottom, reflecting what he now knew to be the real Reason for the season.

I’ll tell you more about Uncle Hugh and his famous Christmas song in a future post.

But today is Thanksgiving, and what most people don’t know is that Uncle Hugh also wrote a Thanksgiving song (how many of THOSE do you know?).   In 2008, this indefatigable creative genius penned a short but very sweet holiday song in the same poetic style of yesteryear’s Broadway heyday.  He never lived long enough to see his song professionally recorded, but I had the great fortune to record a demo of it with him at the keys at San Diego’s Studio West that same year when he was 94 years of age.   As you will hear in the YouTube clip,  Uncle Hugh never lost his magical musical touch, gracing every word and every note all the way up to the very end.

I know that today will be a lush, rich and fun time of family celebration for many of you… be thankful!  For for others, maybe not so much, but… be thankful!  Being thankful might be the very last thing you might think you are capable of as you might be despairing over any number of things.  I know this feeling; I have sometimes had days where all I could do was whimper as I lacked the strength even to find words.  It was in those days I had no choice but to rely on the promises of God that He is in this thing with me.  Concentrating on that made all the difference in the world.  And you know what?  Expressing my thanks- most of the time right out loud – has changed my perspective completely.  God is using the challenges to remind me I can’t do it on my own, and I am indeed, THANKFUL!

But back to my rich uncle.

On this day where it is good to give thanks, let Uncle Hugh’s song (and my Father’s words) lift your spirits.

Thanksgiving Should Be Every Day  (Hugh Martin ©2008)

Holiday time again! It comes and goes so fast!  But there’s a reason this lovely season should last and last…

Let’s make every day Thanksgiving Day, full of courage and comfort and cheer.  Let your voices ring loud and clear three hundred and sixty-five days of the year!  Every day should be a jubilee and each worry will scurry away…  So always remember it’s not just a day in November;  Thanksgiving should be every day!

Have an attitude of gratitude, never ceasing to worship and pray.  For just to be living is reason enough for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving should be every day!

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.   Colossians 3:14-16



Sylvia is a singer and Christian women’s speaker, and lives in Southern California.

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  29. Oh, Sylvia… what a precious night that was way back them, and what memories we all of “Uncle Hugh” 🙂 You sing his songs so easily and beautifully! I love you!

  30. So sweet and poignant. Remember to be thankful 365 days of the year, difficult but if I really give all to Him it can be done. Thanks Sylvia for sharing this.

  31. You’ve once again nailed it. Such great sentiment and an attitude adjustment for the Thanksgiving/Christmas season. THANK YOU!

  32. I felt like I was transported to an earlier time when life was simpler and people celebrated the simple things that bring joy – friends – family – love. Love your words – Love your voice!

  33. How many of us truly give thanks, from our hearts, in hard or good times? So easy to take life for granted. And how many of us pop off a quick prayer or expressn of gratitude on Thanksgiving, only to revert back to a day to day thankless life? What IF everyday was Thanksgiving in our minds and hearts, and we took just a moment to be grateful. I think life would be far more meaningful and our hearts would be far less burdened. Thank you for this perspective.

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