Toward the end of this month we celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving this year is a few days before the first Sunday of Advent. Historically, Advent has been a time of personal exploration in preparation for the joyousness of Christmas. Perhaps the best way to prepare for this preparation is to take some time to express thanks and gratitude to God for life and the world in which we and our loved ones live. I found a few Thanksgiving prayers at www.al.com that I thought might be helpful for this:
A Jewish blessing: We thank you, Lord our God, you – who gives food to all, who heals the flesh of all, creates wonders in this world, who forged mankind in great wisdom and who gives refuge beneath the shadow of his wings. God, from your wisdom grant us wisdom, from your love grant us love, from your understanding grant us understanding. Feed us when we are hungry, give us strength when we are weak, raise us up when we are bent over, set us free when we are enslaved. Just as our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were blessed in all, from all, with all – may the Lord bless all of us together with a complete blessing: of peace, of strength – with the blessing of being thankful.
A Baptist blessing: O God of all things, on this special day of giving thanks we are even more reminded of the many blessings which come from you – blessings of comfort, blessings of healing, blessings of family, blessings of riches, blessings of your love. Hear us this day and every day, as we offer to you, our humble yet grateful hearts in thanksgiving for you. Prompt us, O Lord, to be your hands, your feet and your outstretched arms today as we strive to do good by sharing our diversity of wealth among those who may be less fortunate. Times are difficult and we know that in helping others, we are being obedient to your command of loving our neighbor. We thank you, loving God. We acknowledge that all good things come from you. Help us to never take for granted your gifts, your love, or the life we have through knowing your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is in his name that we offer this prayer to you.
A Catholic blessing: Father, we join all creation, in heaven and on Earth, in praising you, our mighty God. You made man and woman in your own likeness and set them over your wonderful creation. You gave them a destiny, when you brought them out of bondage to a land of freedom, as they carried with them the promise that all would be blest and free. What the prophets pledged was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord. It has come to pass in every generation, as it happened to our parents, who came to this land as if out of the desert into a place of promise and hope. It happened to those pilgrims and Native Americans who gathered in thanksgiving on that first Thanksgiving Day for the bounty of this land. And it happens to us still, as you call us to a vision of peace. And so on this Thanksgiving Day, with hearts full of love, we give thanks for all the blessings we have received this past year. We offer this prayer of praise and thanksgiving through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever.
And from our Book of Common Prayer: Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things.
Go with God,