It seems a sort of cruel joke that that the time of the year most set aside for reflection and pausing also happens to be the time of year when things are the busiest. To-do lists keep growing. Errands keep accumulating. And stress seems like the natural default mode of our existence.
With as crazy a season as the holidays tend to be, when you finally do get a chance to try to practice the gratitude this season centers around, when you finally get a moment to quiet yourself down, all you really want is a nap. The truth is, it would be nice if starting in September we had made plans to make a gratitude tree would fill in the month of November. But practicing gratitude doesn’t just need to be for those of us with foresight, margin or a zen like disposition.
As the days to Thanksgiving continue to countdown, there’s space for all of us–even the most stressed out, spread thin, and overwhelmed of us. This year, when you feel behind because the holiday planning wasn’t as meaningful as you had hoped, and the days went far faster than you expected, there’s no reason Thanksgiving can’t still allow room for you to pause, to breathe, and to give thanks.
In the next few days, find five minutes to get alone, close a door, and take three, slow, long deep breaths. And pray a prayer of thanks.
A Prayer of Thanks
God, the giver of good things, we give back to you, thanks.
Thank you for creating.
Thank you for revealing.
Thank you for surprising us with your goodness
Thank you for the breadcrumbs of goodness you leave for us to find.
Thank you for eyes to see goodness,
Ears to hear goodness,
And a heart to appreciate goodness.
Thank you that good and beautiful and true things are all evidence of You.
We give thanks.
God, giver of good things, sometimes the goodness is hard to find; the breadcrumbs impossible to follow; the evidence harder to believe.
Darkness overwhelms light. Chaos disrupts peace. Confusion dispels hope.
Giver of good things, the good things can sometimes seem hidden.
But even then, especially then,
You give yourself.
And we give thanks.
We give thanks not because the world is perfect.
But because you are good.
We give thanks not because there aren’t things to fear.
But because you are present.
We give thanks not because we are naïve, ignorant, or superstitious.
We give thanks because your Goodness is trustworthy.
When giving thanks is easy, we give thanks.
When giving thanks seems impossible, then too, we give thanks.
We give thanks for what is, we give thanks for what has been,
But most of all we give thanks for what will be:
A world righted of wrongs, humanity restored and redeemed, a perfect gathering around a table to share company and stories, tears and laughter, presence and the breaking of bread.
God, giver of good things, giver of the breath we breathe in, and the breath we breathe out, fill us with the breath of your Spirit in a season of busyness.
Restore us. Slow us. Sustain us.
We pause to give thanks.
We pause to give a portion back to you what you have so selflessly given us.
God, giver of good, you are good.
And we give thanks.