One Thanksgiving a family was gathered around the table looking forward to the holiday bird. From oldest to youngest they were to express their thanks. When it came time for the youngest he began by thanking the bird, observing that, while he hadn’t yet tasted it, he was sure it would be wonderful. After that unusual introduction he proceeded to the more predictable list of credits, his mother for cooking it, his father for buying it and so on. The sort of list which, with some variation perhaps, could show up at any family table. But then he continued with an unusual list of credits. He gave thanks for a large group of an unexpected cast of characters and for each one named, the boy even shared why they should be thanked.
“I thank you for the checker at the grocery store who checked out the turkey. I thank you for the person who put it on the shelf. I thank you for the driver who brought it to the store. I thank you for the farmer who made it fat. I thank you for the person who made the feed.” On and on, with his Sherlock Holmes-like little mind, tracing the turkey’s path from its origin to his plate. At the end, he solemnly said, “Did I leave anyone out?” His seven year-older brother, embarrassed by the whole routine said, “God.” Equally gravely, and without being flustered, the five-year-old responded, “I was getting around to that.”
Maybe this Jesuit prayer I found will help us all do more than “just get around” to God. Maybe this prayer will remind us to give thanks to the One who showers us with gifts to be thankful, not just one day a year but rather each and everyday.
our hearts are crowded with gratitude
as we celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving.
We have come to this our feasting table
with great joy and eagerness,
for we are truly grateful to You, our God,
for all that we have been given.
We pause now and, in silent prayer,
do thank You for the great generosity of Your gifts.
We also thank one another for gifts –
especially for the gifts of love and affection
that we have freely shared.
We are thankful
for all who are present at this our feast
as well as for all those who have labored in love
in order to bring this dinner to our table.
May You, our God, bless this Thanksgiving feast
and all of us who shall share it
in Your holy name.
I pray that your Thanksgiving Day is bathed in the love and grace of God. I hope you will join Jill and me and pause throughout the day to give thanks to God for all the gifts He has placed in our lives.