By Ralphine Major

Our Heavenly Father, we come into your presence with grateful hearts for the many blessings of this year. We thank you for gifts both great and small. For homes and jobs, for health and healing, and for your protection and guidance, we give you thanks. For the sight of a beautiful sunrise on the dawn of a new day, we give you thanks. For the sound of children’s laughter and hymns of praise and for the wisdom of the elderly in our midst, we give you thanks. For the food on our tables this Thanksgiving, we give you thanks. For the joys of friendship and the blessings of family, we offer you our thanks. For those who lift our spirits with kindness and compassion on ordinary days, we thank you for them. For the special day we celebrated to honor the veterans who have served our country, we are thankful. We do not take lightly their sacrifices or those freedoms for which they fought.

O God, we come to you with heavy hearts for those who have suffered much in the wake of hurricanes, wildfires, and violence—even in your house of worship. Comfort those who have lost so much; heal those who have been wounded. We ask that you bless those first responders and volunteers who have answered the call to help those in such desperate circumstances.

On this Thanksgiving, may we be ever mindful that all we have comes from our Creator. The words of a child’s prayer echoes in my mind from years ago when the kindergarteners in Sunday School gave thanks for everything they have. “They’re not ours,” the child said as she prayed. “They’re Yours.” As you gather with family and friends for this special day, take a moment and reflect on all the blessings God has given for every season of your life. On this last holiday of fall, enjoy the beauty of our Creator. Have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving!