This is a strange Thanksgiving. Many of you have decided not to visit with friends and family over this holiday. It’s safer to stay with your own household. You miss your loved ones terribly. Others of you are gathering with a few loved ones—and hoping that it will be safe. Some of you have young adults returning home from college, or elderly parents who need your care. There is no choice without anguish.
It is hard to articulate gratitude in such fraught times. Yet there is still so much to be grateful for. Researchers and support staff have worked diligently and have developed at least two highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, and more may yet emerge. Our election system, the heart of our democracy, held up under the pressures of the pandemic. We share gratitude for all the blessings of our lives: the food we eat, a safe and warm place to sleep, and the people who love us and whom we love.
In these times, I want to give you a Thanksgiving prayer, for however you’re spending your holiday. I sent this out five years ago, and I’ve updated it for gatherings which may be virtual this year. Whether you’re alone or traveling, welcoming relatives or Zooming with friends, I’m thinking of you all with love.
A table blessing for Thanksgiving
Spirit of sustenance and life, Spirit of love and comfort,
We give thanks for all the blessings of our lives.
We give thanks for the food we are about to enjoy:
for the fruits of the good earth, and for the labor of human hands which brought it to our table.
We give thanks for the friends and family gathered here, or gathered afar, breaking bread together in peace wherever they may be.
We give thanks for all the wonders of life: life’s abundance; those we love, near and far; all the living beings on our planet; all the opportunities to share loving-kindness with one another.
You may go around the table or virtual gathering and invite each person to name something they are grateful for.
We ask for the gifts of peace for our hurting world.
May all who hunger and thirst, living without enough to meet their daily needs, find fullness, compassion and justice.
May all homes know peace. May all neighborhoods be peaceful. May our country be at peace. May nations make war no more.
May the love we feel today warm our hearts with love for our neighbors. May this meal strengthen us to work for a just world for all people. May our thanksgiving inspire us to live lives that help one another.