In the days ahead, many of us will gather with family and friends, people with whom we may have long and complicated relationships. It helps to prepare.
Let us enter into the spirit of prayer or meditation.
Dear Spirit, Great Mystery that has blessed us with Life, help us to feel grateful.
We give thanks in this moment for lungs that breathe in and out, for hearts that beat, for bodies that work.
We give thanks for this coming holiday/gathering, however and with whomever we will spend it. We give thanks to be alive, to be able to mark the day in whatever way we choose.
We give thanks for family, for friends, for those who gather around us in body or in spirit, in flesh or in memory.
We give thanks for all those people who came before us, who—flawed and damaged as they were—loved us into being, shaped us into who we are now. We remember with gratitude.
We give thanks for mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers—they did their best.
We give thanks for wacky uncles and rebellious aunts, for rambunctious cousins and unexpected guests.
We give thanks for long car rides, dashes through airports, and endless rounds of Monopoly.
We give thanks for the awkward conversation, the strained pause, even the slammed door.
We give thanks for disagreements that forced us to grow and move and evolve.
We give thanks for all of it. All of it. For all these wild and hungry people—our family, our friends, our congregation—people just as flawed as we are, all dealing with more than we can see, all part of a larger whole, every last one doing their best.
We give thanks for the glory of being alive.