Thanksgiving meals and prayers

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, perhaps because I was born on Thanksgiving, and each year on Thanksgiving night, since my birthday was always on or near Thanksgiving, my parents put candles in the pumpkin pie, and asked me to blow out the candles and make a wish. I have had the same birthday meal all my life and still love it.  As I grew older, my birthday wishes became more like thanksgivings and not just wishes for what I wanted for Christmas. Now, with my interfaith family, Thanksgiving is the holiday that we can all share, a meal that we can all eat, and prayers that we can all say together. The Thanksgiving meal continues to bring us together.

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to our creator for all the blessings we share as children of God, and to open our hearts and homes to those who may be alone. Even families that don’t usually say grace, often pause before eating that first bite of turkey to find words to express their gratitude for the beauty of the earth, for guests and family present, for family members at a distance, and for friends and family members no longer with us.  In our family we often go round the table and ask each person to share something that he or she is thankful for. It is always the thoughts of our children, and now grandchildren, that bring us to tears. Young children sense that this meal is a special occasion, and as they listen to the faith and grateful thoughts of their relatives and friends, they become aware of what is sacred in our lives. The Thanksgiving meal becomes a holy meal when we share prayer, love, memories, hope and food.

Below is a prayer I recently discovered after listening to, an Sunday morning APM radio broadcast with Krista Tippett. In Krista’s interview with Paul Raushenbush, Huffington Post’s Religion editor, he mentioned the prayer that his great grandfather, theologian and Baptist minister, Walter Raushenbush wrote 100 years ago.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer
by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861–1918)

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thornbush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Do you have a family prayer that you recite on Thanksgiving? How does your family give thanks?

Peace, Carol

This entry was posted in The Rev. Dr. Carol M. Flett and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Thanksgiving meals and prayers

  1. Christian says:

    I heard the same show. Thanks for sending the prayer along.

  2. Sue Coco says:

    Speaking of giving thanks, thanks for that cup. I have printed that beautiful prayer and intend to read it at our Thanksgiving dinner.

  3. Linda V says:

    Dear Carol – thank you for that lovely prayer. And…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

  4. Ann Ramsey-Moor says:

    Thanks, Carol. As Andrew and I were married on Thanksgiving, and Deb — 12 years later on the same date — was born the day after Thanksgiving, we, too, have major things for which to be grateful that day. (Many years, the birthday and anniversary AND Thanksgiving coincide!) Thanks also for the wonderful prayer from Walter Rauschenbusch, who is known to me from his insightful A Theology for the Social Gospel. I will print it out and use it when we have Thanksgiving dinner with my brother and his family. Happy Birthday to you, too!

  5. Nancy Martin says:

    Thanks for sharing the thanksgiving prayer i never hear about it. Thansgiving day is really great day to express thanks to everyone who helped you. I am planning for celebrating thanksgiving party with .my whole family ang sing thanksgiving prayer also.

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