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Thanksgiving Prayer or Toast: 3 Elements of a Meaningful Reflection

This year, when we circle the Thanksgiving table, there will be three of us. It is our first small-gathering Thanksgiving.  It is one more thing to add to a year of well-deserved complaints. 2020 is a historical year of stress and loss.  How can you offer a meaningful Thanksgiving prayer or toast in a year like this?

Here are three things to keep in mind.

Thanksgiving for People

Who is present? What are you thankful for in each one of them?  This acknowledgment is easier with smaller gatherings.  As you do this, focus on character and positive behaviors.  Do not use backhanded compliments; be authentically grateful for the things each person brings to the table. Suppose this is the first year without a special someone. In that case, you could acknowledge the loss and express appreciation for the things you loved about them. This is our first Thanksgiving since the passing of my mother. We miss her long hugs and listening ear. It was a precious gift to us all.  We are thankful.

A placeholder at the Thanksgiving table expressing appreciation for those present.
Offer thanksgiving for the people present.

Thanksgiving for The Important Things

What is of primary importance? For many, this has been a year of loss.  Loss of income, loss of comforts previously taken for granted (eating out, big gatherings, movies, etc.), loss of loved ones, loss of a sense of security. As you continue to experience these times, what is being revealed as most important? In our family, we treasure relationships above all else. Love God. Love people. Act accordingly. So when asked how things are going, we can say that the most important things are healthy—and we are grateful.

Thanksgiving toast.
Toasting Thanksgiving for the Most Important Things

Thanksgiving for Present and Future Gifts

What present and future gifts can we appreciate? Survivors of the Great Depression often look back on those times and treasure the discoveries made. The survivors were tougher than they thought and able to get by on less than they imagined. They were able to pull together in communities to meet needs more than previously thought possible.

Perhaps your family, like mine, is discovering some of the same lessons. The most valuable things cannot be bought—which is a good thing since financial resources have been drastically cut.  We are learning that limited resources do not limit love.  The death of temporary things can serve to enrich the soil of relationships—eternally valuable relationships.

When we look back on this year, what benefits do you think we will be thankful for?  Be appreciative now for those things. 

Young family creating Thanksgiving memories.
Creating Thanksgiving memories.

Thanksgiving Moments to Remember

This is a unique experience.  Because of that, it will stand out more than other Thanksgivings. Your words are more likely to be remembered.  So invest a few minutes to organize your thoughts.

Who is present?

What is of primary importance?

What present and future gifts can we appreciate?

Allow the answers to shape the content of a Thanksgiving reflection that will be right for this precious moment.

My prayer for you is that the people present will be appreciated and that they can rest in knowing that the most important things are secure. I pray that your words will be full of grace and that new beautiful memories will be created in your time together.

I am thankful for you! 

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2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Prayer or Toast: 3 Elements of a Meaningful Reflection”

  1. Thanks for a great read Mike. We too were a gathering of three, and ate Thanksgiving dinner outdoors on the patio… two firsts. We had a Zoom with the Houston clan, which will be a great 2020 memory.

    • Thanks for the encouragement! I agree that this year will stand out among the blur of other Thanksgiving memories because it was so different! After eating, we enjoyed a round of disc golf at Gateway Park. It was perfect weather for it!


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