Today's news is troubling. Bombs are falling in Gaza and Israel. People are still suffering from the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. Yet once again in the United States, we are asked to open our hearts and give thanks on the national holiday of Thanksgiving.

And so we pray this news. . .

A Thanksgiving Blessing
by Joyce Rupp

May an abundance of gratitude burst forth
as you reflect upon what you have received.

May thanksgiving overflow in your heart,
and often be proclaimed in your prayer.

May you gather around the table of your heart
the ardent faithfulness, kindness, and goodness
of each person who is true to you.

May the harvest of your good actions
bring forth plentiful fruit each day.

May you discover a cache of hidden wisdom
among the people and events
that have brought you distress and sorrow.

May your basket of blessings surprise you
with its rich diversity of gifts
and its opportunities for growth.

May all that nourishes and resources your life
bring you daily satisfaction and renewed hope.

May you slow your hurried pace of life
so you can be aware of, and enjoy,
what you too easily take for granted.

May you always be open, willing,
and ready to share your blessings with others.

May you never forget the Generous One
who loves you lavishly and unconditionally.

— from Out of the Ordinary

A Meditation for Thanksgiving
by Brother David Steindl-Rast

In 1789, Thanksgiving is celebrated nationally in the United States for the first time.

Gratefulness brings joy to my life. How could I find joy in what I take for granted? So I stop "taking for granted," and there is no end to the surprises I find. A grateful attitude is a creative one, because, in the final analysis, opportunity is the gift within the gift of every moment — the opportunity to see and hear and smell and touch and taste with pleasure.

There is no closer bond than the one that gratefulness celebrates, the bond between giver and thanksgiver. Everything is a gift. Grateful living is a celebration of the universal give-and-take of life, a limitless yes to belonging.

Can our world survive without gratefulness? Whatever the answer, one thing is certain: to say an unconditional yes to the mutual belonging of all beings will make this a more joyful world. This is the reason why yes is my favorite synonym for God.

— from Prayers for Healing: 365 Blessings, Poems, and Meditations from Around the World edited by Maggie Oman

A Table Liturgy for the Feast of Thanksgiving
by Edward Hays

Included bracketed section if there are guests present.

The family stands in prayerful silence around their table, upon which there are two unlit candles. After a few moments, the mother of the family begins.

MOTHER: Come, let us welcome the feast of
         with joy and with light.
Light is the symbol of the divine.
The Lord is our light and our salvation.
May the light of gratitude burn brightly
         in our hearts
         and around this table,
         not only on the feast of Thanksgiving
         but at all meals.

         candles are lit

MOTHER (or another): In the silence of our hearts,
         let each of us give thanks
         for all the many gifts that are ours.

         pause for silent reflection

Let us also be mindful of those today
         who are without food and a home.

         pause for silent reflection

And let us remember those whom we love
         who are not now present at our table.

         pause for silent reflection

FATHER: Lord of Gifts,
         from Your holy heart
         has come a flood of gifts to us.
With uplifted hearts, we have gathered around this table
          to thank You with prayer
          and with the worship of feasting.
We are grateful
          not only for the gifts of life itself,
          but for all the gifts
          of friendship, love, devotion and forgiveness
          that we have shared.
On this feast of giving thanks, Lord God,
          we thank You for showing us how to return thanks
          by lives of service,
          by deeds of hospitality,
          by kindness to a stranger
          and by concern for each other.
(We thank You for the presence of our
          guests, __________________,
          who, by their being present in our home,
          have added to the brightness of our celebration.)

We are most grateful, this feast day,
          for the way You, our hidden God,
          have become visible to us
          in one another,
          in countless daily gifts
          and in the marvels of creation.
Come, Lord of Gifts,
          and bless our table and all the food of this feast.

Let us thank the Lord,
          today and all days. Amen.

ALL TOAST: Happy Thanksgiving!

— from Prayers for the Domestic Church 

Next Post: A Prayer for an End to Hunger