Thanksgiving: A Prayer & Litany

Thanksgiving is in less than a week, but it’s coming to mind today as I observe students packing their cars for the journey home. I wrote this litany and prayer in 2017, and share it in the event someone might find it edifying, useful, or at least worth a quick read. All are welcome to reproduce it.

Thanksgiving—the most solemn domestic holiday for Americans. God always gives, even in difficult years.

Eternal God, thank you:

For the beauty of your creation, freely given to us each day, for our nourishment, play, and wonder;

For clean water, food, and shelter;

For the sun and moon, for green grass and wind, for electricity;

For good health; for the gifts of sight, hearing, walking, and tasting;

For physicians and therapists who help makes us whole; for medicine that calms illness;

For introducing us to new friends in our travels; for the memories cherished with old friends, some of whom we left behind when we moved;

For the gift of family life: the tumult, arguments, laughter, joy, and the arid ordinariness of each passing day;

For bringing us laborers: those who prepare and serve our food, those who perform repairs and home improvements, those who keep vehicles running, those who tend to lawns and driveways;

For the artists who challenge us with images of faces of those we do not know; who draw and paint beautiful designs and landscapes; who perform sounds that cause us to dance, and to praise you;

For the teachers, who devote themselves to raising up a generation of thinkers and entrepreneurs;

For volunteers who rebuild homes, pour soup, serve bread, and go to dangerous places to fight for human dignity;

For pastors, who lead us in prayer and in carrying our crosses;

For our armed forces, who exemplify your teaching of giving their lives for their friends;

For work that animates us, and provides for our daily needs;

For words that captivate us, keeping our lamps illuminated deep into the night;

For the kisses and embraces of love, renewing spirit in young and old;

For forgiving our sins up to seventy times seven;

For the gift of long friendship, expressed in person, at table, on e-mail and phone;

For consolation and reconciliation, for the hope of new fellowship when old friendships fail;

For the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ, and the communion of the Holy Spirit;

For keeping your promise that you will be with us whenever two or three are gathered together in your name;

For the freedom to come together to hear your word, to offer you gifts, to praise you, and to receive your holy meal;

For giving us new days when we have squandered the old ones, to rise up and offer you thanks again and again;

Eternal God, your gifts are truly inexhaustible, for you love humankind. We thank you and send you glory, with your Son and your All-holy Spirit, now and forever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

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