Being Thankful

I can’t believe we are in Thanksgiving season already! Monday morning at the nursing home in Palo Alto we sang the “big three” for the season: Come Ye Thankful, People Come, We Gather Together, and Now Thank We All Our God. We didn’t have song sheets, but we seemed to do pretty well with the words. We ended our service as always by offering the residents communion, our meal of remembrance and thanksgiving.

I think we all have memories of Thanksgivings past: who was there, who made the best pie, what signature dish defined the moment other than the turkey. In our house growing up it was always grandma Jarvis’ (my great grandmother) string beans that were cut a special way, boiled in milk, which tasted just awesome when mixed with mashed potatoes.

I remember years ago while I was in seminary, my former wife and I spent Thanksgiving with two other seminary couples. They were also our dearest friends all through those intense school years. I will never in my life forget the table grace offered by our host who is still active in the ministry, and who is still a very dear friend. His prayer was just two sentences and went exactly like this. ” O Lord, we thank you for everything we got. Please forgive us for bitchin’ ’bout everything we ain’t got. Amen.” A shocking grace, for sure; but its message was clear, concise and pertinent to this day. By the way, out of all the table graces I have heard or given over the years, it is the only one I really remember verbatim.

Most of all, I love too the phrase I learned several years ago, “It’s not about happy people being thankful, but thankful people who are happy”. Being thankful, being grateful is really what it’s all about. It is the heart of all prayer. It is what motivates our response to be servants in the service of others.


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