A Prayer for Thanksgiving Day

Our family prayer that now finds its place in my China cabinet, inherited from my Grandmother Dot. It stands as a reminder to me of what truly unites my family.

Once upon a holiday in the mid-90’s my Grandmother Dot shared this prayer with our family. After that day it became a tradition to read this before our meals when we were all together for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.

I’ll have to admit that it means much much more this year to me than the first year it was read. One reason being because of my age (as a Middle Schooler I was more focused on not giggling through the long prayer) ☺️ and the second reason being the years of hard seasons between then and now that makes something like this so precious to me. What a wonderful thing to know during the ever changing year we are experiencing that we know for sure some things will never change.

I pray that you have a blessed Thanksgiving however you are choosing to spend it this year. 🦃

God made us a family.

I’m so glad He did. In spite of the cornucopia of personalities, views, and quirks, we were M.F.E.O. (made for each other).

We love one another.

Family should be safe place. If we can’t love each other, how can we love those God sent us to reach in the world. Unconditional love is found in family. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Cor 13

We need one another.

Boy do we realize how much we need each other this year! Members of our family are our built in helpers in life and fact checkers on our memories of our childhoods. Need perspective, encouragement or someone to tell you the truth? Phone a cousin. They are invaluable as life goes on.

We forgive one another.

There is a comfort level with family that we know each other so well that we can sometimes show all of our colors because we know we can not lose their love. Forgiveness and forbearance is key in a family that wants to dwell in unity. None of us is perfect, I’ll raise my hand first! Family is the first place I saw forgiveness modeled and I learned how to forgive by watching my relatives interact gracefully.

We work together.

Potluck anyone?! As I’ve prepared the Thanksgiving meal on my own this year (thanks COVId), I’ve never been more thankful for Papaw’s turkey, Aunt Kay’s dressing, Mom’s strawberry salad, Nana’s corn casserole and potatoes, Jennifer’s rolls, Zach’s Uncle Mike’s cheesecake, Magnolia’s peanut butter fudge, and Scarlet’s green bean bundles. Life is so much easier and sweeter when we work together and make a masterpiece!

We play together.

Growing up with my dad’s family meant time spent on the water laughing, playing, and having a good time all day until the sun set into the water and we tucked ourselves into bed dog tired. Fun bonds a family together.

We worship together.

I’m so thankful for grandparents on both sides who loved the Lord and went to church. Part of my life, I attended my Grandparents’ church and I loved coming from Sunday school to sit with them. There’s something special about the memory of singing hymns to the tune of an organ with your family. I’m thankful they modeled a life of faith for me.

Together we trust and use God’s word.

I grew up in two different denominations and have family from four different denominations, but one thing we always had in common was that we believed God’s word to be true, dependable and necessary to stand on through good times and bad. I saw my family trust God and learned from them that I should lean on Him every day.

Together we grow in Christ.

Nothing brings me more joy than seeing those I love growing more in the Lord. Those are the conversations that are lasting and memorable for me. I loved hearing about past answered prayers, or seeing my Grandmother help those around her in need, and I loved to be encouraged and inspired to keep on being who God made me to be.

Together we attempt to judge not others.

This one is hard in the time that we live where everything seems so divided and divisive. We have to remember that people aren’t the sum of their mistakes and misguided views. Sometimes it’s better to be quiet about an issue than to risk erring. In this season, I’m choosing to be more prayerful and less vocal as not to be divisive.

Together with God’s help we love all men.

We most certainly need His help to love others the way we are supposed to love. We must encourage each other to do so by our choices.

And together we plan our family reunion in Heaven.

Knowing the people at the banquet table on earth will meet me on the other side is comforting. I’ve always thought those family meals were a picture of what it might be like to be together at His table. What a day that will be!

These are our goals and ideals.

My Grandmother wasn’t leaving it up to chance or our own self discovery on what she wanted us to believe. She spelled it all out with this blessing. These are our goals. These are our ideals. This is who she hoped we’d become as a family. This was repeated in word and deed year after year like a rhythm on a drum, love, serve, believe, think of others, and forgive.

“I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:13-14

Help us attain them, O God. We pray God’s will be done through each of us through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

Thanksgiving Song by Ben Rector : https://youtu.be/QwaxNPY5nIY