Does your family normally pause and give thanks before the beginning of each meal? Have you ever noticed a family in a restaurant hold hands and bow their heads and say grace before digging into their burger and fries? I don't do that, but often I whisper a blessing as I am preparing a meal for us to eat on trays in the den while we watch HGTV or a movie.
Thanksgiving seems to call for an intentional grace, a way to acknowledge the blessings in our lives, as well as the blessings of the day.
A Sampler of Graces
Be present at our table, Lord.
Be here and everywhere adored.
Thy creatures bless and grant that we
May feast in fellowship with thee.
Lord, some people have food
and no friends.
Some people have friends and no food.
We thank you that on this night we have both.
Lord, of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of thanks and praise.
In the world's confusion
May we know the Grace of God.
Help us to do the things we should,
to be to others kind and good,
in all we do in work and play,
to grow more loving every day.
God is great, God is good.
Let us thank God for our food.
By God's hands we all are fed.
Give us Lord our daily bread.
Our hands we fold.
Our heads we bow.
For food and drink
We thank God now.
We give you thanks, O Lord,
For all things bright and good,
The beauty of your world,
The bounty of your world.
Thank you for the food before us,
The friends among us,
The love between us,
and Your presence among us.
Creator of the universe, you give us this gift of food to flourish us and give us life. Bless this food that you have made and human hands have prepared. May it satisfy our hunger, and in sharing it together may we come closer to one another.
Lord, may our fellowship be the revelation of your presence and turn our daily bread into bread of life.
Sustainer of our body, heart, and soul
Bless all we receive
The ritual is One.
The food is One.
We who offer the food are One.
The fire of hunger is also One.
All action is One.
We who understand this are One.
I love this one often recited by our grandchildren. Hear their sweet voices as you read this:
We thank Thee Lord, for happy hearts,
For rain and sunny weather.
We thank Thee, Lord, for this our food,
And that we are together.
Your tradition may be for each person to offer something for which they are grateful or someone may lift up a personal and original prayer, but whichever grace is recited at your Thanksgiving table, may it end with a resounding AMEN!
What are your memories of table graces? Do you have any favorites you wish to share? How does saying grace make a difference or does it? If saying grace is not your family's tradition, how do you think suggesting it would be received?