Over the last fifty years our thanksgiving celebrations have morphed into a focus on family and food. In many homes, God is excluded. Church, family prayers, naming our blessings gets lost in the party. Many of us believe that we’ve earned it all through hard work and intelligence. The beauty of the world, enough to eat, a warm home in winter, all are taken for granted or deserved.
Last year, thanks to Covid 19 protocols and fear, many of our traditions just didn’t happen. We were separated from each other. Some of us, especially seniors, were totally alone. Many had lost jobs, regardless of their history of hard work. Others were filled with grief, as Covid took many lives.
This year, we can return to family gatherings, at least the vaccinated and masked. How will our celebration be different? Whether we are with others or alone, I am hoping that we will invite God back into our festivities. Yes, most of us have worked hard and done our best to be good people, but we have been given so much more than we could ever earn.
My suggestion is that we each make a list of our blessings, especially the ones we haven’t earned. For example: Last week we met our son & granddaughter in the village of Brooklin and travelled to the Harvest Festival at Windreach Farm. As we drove up and down the hills of Oakridge Moraine, we soaked in the beauty of fields ripe with corn and soybeans. Everything sparkled in the glorious sunshine. At Windreach, we petted the calves, cuddled the rabbits and more, enjoying their loving greeting as they rubbed their heads on our arms. Vanessa and I participated in the challenges that had been prepared for us. We had not earned any of this lovely day. We could only give thanks to the workers, the animals and most of all, to God.
I know that when I list my blessings, mostly undeserved, they will fill an entire notebook. From the gift of the breath of life to the wonder of family, friends and nature, I want to thank our loving God.
Over the next few days, I suggest you prepare your list. Take some time and include all the things we take for granted. Once you’ve written down everything you can think of, have a conversation with God. If praying is difficult for you, here is a template.
Creator God, my companion, my guide, my friend, thank you, thank you for my many blessings.
- Thanks for the wonders of this world that come to us free every day – sunsets, music, water, nature’s beauty. Help me to stop, experience and marvel like a toddler:
the sight of the tiniest insect as it scurries across the sidewalk
the rustle of leaves in the trees
the touch of velvety flowers and Grandpa’s bristly beard
the taste of a fresh peach covered in milk
(space for your experiences)
There is so much to see and do. It’s all awesome. Thank you, God.
- Thank you, God, for the ability to love family and friends. Thank you for all who have taught me how to love. I begin with Jesus, parents, friends, neighbours, even strangers who have given me kindness. To love is such a special gift. I am truly blessed.
(Name specific people)
Thank you God for the blessing of people in my life. They too are
- Thank you, loving God for your forgiveness for the times I have failed to be kind and loving, for the times I have judged someone not worthy of love. I know that judging is your job, but it’s so easy to judge others and ourselves and find us all wanting.
( specific actions you regret)
Thank you, God. I am truly blessed, today and everyday. Amen
Our blessings are bountiful. Our heart has been touched so often. RememberThere is so much to be grateful for, so many times your heart has been touched by God. . God has infinite time and will continue to listen.
This year at Thanksgiving may you truly feel the humility and Grace of giving God and give thanks.
Scripture: Luke 17:17-19 New International Version
17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”