Maybe you swore off the commercialism that goes with a holiday season of buying stuff. Black Friday is just another day for you. You're delighted to get a day off from work, read a good book or take the kids to a movie. –Kind of like what you'll do in February, on President's Day.

What is significant about a day set aside for gratitude, if you live a life of gratitude 365 days a year? Could it be a free pass for pushing your Pollyanna ways onto others? You'll have a captive audience on Thanksgiving. There are people around the dinner table, who can use a super-strong dose of thanks-giving, and the 4th Thursday of November, is the perfect opportunity. Have a great prayer handy. Do something corny, like a great big group hug, hand holding or do the arms on shoulders, sway-thing.

You can get away with it, it's Thanksgiving! Change hearts, and change habits today. Thank You, Creator for the human community we call family. Happy Thanksgiving, from me to you.

That Time of Year

Hassled time,
hurried time,
crafted of jammed schedules,
marathon cooking sessions,
and shopping trips from hell.

Why do I make this season
harder than it must be?
All You ask of me
is to live and give thanks:
I save all that for one lone day,
and pursue busy-ness,
all the rest.

Stop me.
Remind me of my treasures,
the ones I did not buy in a store.
Crack open my heart
and let true joy pour forth.
More than turkey,
better than gravy,
prayer will be
my holiday season.


And may I suggest, another beautiful prayer for Thanksgiving:

For the expanding grandeur of Creation, worlds known and unknown, galaxies beyond galaxies,
filling us with awe and challenging our imaginations,
We thank you

For this fragile planet earth, its times and tides, its sunsets and seasons,
We thank you

For the joy of human life, its wonders and surprises,
its hopes and achievements,
We thank you

For human community, our common past and future hope, our oneness transcending all separation, our capacity to work for peace and justice in the midst of hostility and oppression,
We thank you

For high hopes and noble causes, for faith without fanaticism, for understanding of views not shared,
We thank you

For all who have labored and suffered for a fairer world, who have lived so that others might live in dignity and freedom,
We thank you

For human liberties and sacred rites,
for opportunities to change and grow, to affirm and choose,
We thank you

We pray that we may live not by our fears but by our hopes, not by our words but by our deeds.
We thank you.

-Mishkan T'Filah, adapted from Eugene Picket


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