I love Thanksgiving. I love the day itself - a morning bike ride followed by a shower late enough that the sun is streaming in the glass blocks in the bathroom wall. The house smells of good things to eat, which we will pack up and take to our family’s gathering at my twin sister’s house. Mom and Dad will be there, and all my siblings and their multitudes of kids.
Tables will be set all over the house. Grab a plate, gather around the buffet, serve yourself and come back for more. After dinner, the cousin kids will go to the basement to be loud and make a mess. A game will be played around the dining room table. Football will be watched in the living room. Naps will be taken with a second round of eating afterward.
But first things first - this is Thanksgiving. While we celebrate the holiday with feasting and family, the point isn’t the food or the football. The purpose of the holiday is to pause our regular busyness and acknowledge the blessings and the goodness around us, so let’s be thankful.
Sometimes that’s easier said than done. As we go through our workdays, our focus is often on what is undone, rather than a celebration of what has been accomplished. When we look at our lives it is often from a point of concern for goals that may not be achievable, or worry about situations that we cannot control. And when we tune into the news, the brokenness of the world floods into our lives and crowds the blessings from our awareness. But the blessings are there, nonetheless, and it is a matter of perspective to see them.
As I lament that I have not grown fabulously wealthy, I think about my friends in other parts of the world who have to work so much harder than I do for the basics of food and clothing and shelter. And I think about those who are right here in our community who also struggle to meet their most elemental needs, and it reminds me of how rich I really am, and I am grateful.
In the past few weeks, as some of the “lost people” in our society - those with mental illnesses who really don’t have an advocate - have crossed our paths, I am so very thankful that we are of sound mind.
While people I care about are locked in battle with disease and sickness and all of the pain and fear that go along with them, I am grateful for the time we have already had together, regardless of what the future holds.
As different peoples here in our country and around the world struggle with bigotry and hatred and war, I am grateful that the human heart is also capable of great compassion, and I’m thankful to live at peace in a safe community.
As our productivity impacts our planet in destructive ways, I am awed and amazed at the beauty and majesty of creation, and I am awed and amazed at the small role that I get to play in it, and I am grateful.
As I age and get fatter and slower, I am grateful for life itself which is a miracle for whatever period of time we have it.
God, we welcome you into this house and our hearts as we celebrate your bounty today. For these blessings that we have mentioned and for the ones that we haven’t, we give you the honor and glory, and we are thankful. For those who are not so richly blessed, we pray for mercy and peace and comfort and I pray that we find the awareness and the courage to act on behalf of those who need us, so that they too might find a place at a table of Thanksgiving.
You have already blessed us with this family and this food, and now we bless them back to you as we nourish our bodies for the work you would have us do. In a spirit of deep gratitude and thankfulness we give you the honor and the glory and praise.