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“For the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is God’s name.”

–Luke 1:49

This Thanksgiving week may look different than last year in that you may be returning to your ritual of gathering with family and friends for a Thanksgiving meal after a pandemic pause last year.

Many families or groups of friends have Thanksgiving rituals before enjoying the large feast. It may be one person offering a prayer of thanks before eating or it may be having each guest share something for which they are grateful.

Diana Butler Bass is an author and a historian of Christianity. One of her books is titled Grateful. I laughed when in one of the chapters she calls the Thanksgiving ritual of each person at the table saying something for which they are thankful as a “turkey hostage situation.” No food until everyone comes up with a gratitude!

Your Thanksgiving rituals may work well for those with whom you gather, but Butler Bass says that it isn’t always helpful to have everyone share what they are grateful FOR because it leads to being thankful for the stuff of our lives.

She says that gratitude is more than the preposition for and that other prepositions open our gratefulness in deeper ways. She suggests that Thanksgiving is a good time to ask some different gratitude questions such as: To whom are you grateful? What challenges have you been grateful through? How have you been grateful with others? Where have you discovered gratitude within yourself? Has something in your life been changed by being grateful? In what circumstances have you experienced thankfulness?

As a table ritual or liturgy, Butler Bass says you may want to write out prepositions like for, to, through, with, within, by and in, on cards and put them at each place setting. Then go around the table having each person use the preposition as a prompt to share their gratitudes. This is also a spiritual exercise you could practice on your own. Try taking a preposition each day and using it to reflect on a gratitude in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Whatever rituals of gratitude we share this week, may they deepen our thanks for who God has created us to be and the blessings that surround us.

Blessings,
Jenny