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Thanksgiving – A Reflection and Prayer

November 26, 2020
This fellow was strutting around like he owned Rocky! Picture from RMNP in May, 2019

Old Thanksgiving memories include the appearance of the pilgrim and turkey candles at Mom & Dads when I was growing up. Dinner would be served on Mom’s china which we will be using again this year. I remember the plays and costumes at school. The “story” of the first Thanksgiving was told without mentioning the “rest of the story.” That education would come later as the voices of the indigenous people rose up. Sadly, far too many continue to ignore that story.

So what do you do with a “holiday” that is so full of violence and suppression? That is a difficult question to ponder. The history which had been whitewashed for so long is finally being told truthfully in some parts of our nation for those who will stop and listen.

Perhaps if we focus on thanks-giving instead of the pilgrims that might be a start. Instead we could focus on both the blessings and challenges of this day. How does one give thanks when unemployment rates continue to climb as jobs are lost and housing is very insecure? How does one give thanks while infection and death rates continue to climb as COVID-19 shows no signs of backing off?

This year of the pandemic has changed so much in our nation and world. Not all of the change has been good. But there have been signs of hope in the midst of the darkness. There are many stories of neighbors and strangers helping each other out through this difficult season.

So as we walk through this day, I will offer the prayer of Howard Thurman, who was the grandson of a slave. He found a way to be thankful in the midst of segregation and oppression. Perhaps we can do the same.

In Your presence, O God, we make our Sacrament of Thanksgiving.

We begin with the simple things of our days:
Fresh air to breathe,
Cool water to drink,
The taste of food,
The protection of houses and clothes,
The comforts of home.

For all these we make an act of Thanksgiving this day!

We bring to mind all the warmth of humankind that we have known:

Our mothers’ arms,
The strength of our fathers,
The playmates of our childhood,
The wonderful stories brought to us from the lives of many who
talked of days gone by when fairies and giants and diverse kinds
of magic held sway;
The tears we have shed, the tears we have seen;
The excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the eye with
its reminder that life is good.

For all these we make an act of Thanksgiving this day.

I would add a call to work together so that all of God’s creation may experience these blessings each and every day. Until they do, the work of Justice continues.

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