Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at The Leo House. Our love for this holiday goes beyond the turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and togetherness. Thanksgiving to us means so much more.
In the United States, we believe the first Thanksgiving originated from a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. The story says that after colonists prepared a feast of turkey, geese and duck, the Wampanoag people arrived with an offering of venison as a contribution to the meal. They were welcomed to join the feast and the two groups showed each other acceptance and hospitality for some time thereafter.
We use this story as one example in history where people lived in harmony with one another, even if for a short time. In this way, Thanksgiving renews within us what it means to be hospitable and welcoming to all guests who enter our doors. We like to reflect on that first thanksgiving as a model – that even though we may be different from one another, if we can show each other respect, love and hospitality we can spread goodness between all people. In the true spirit of the holiday, we also reflect on the blessings we have to be thankful throughout the year, whether big or small.
From all your friends at The Leo House, we wish you and your loved ones a Thanksgiving filled with love and happiness. We invite you to enjoy the following prayer:
Prayer of Thanksgiving
(by Vienna Cobb Anderson, adapted)
We thank you for the gift of life:
For the wonder of the universe from which we have evolved,
For the plants and animals of Earth that nourish and sustain us,
For the love of our parents and grandparents without which there would be no life.
We thank you for the gift of relationships:
For families who love us and journey with us in all seasons of our life,
For friends who love us by choice,
For companions at work who share our burdens and daily tasks,
For strangers who welcome us into their midst,
For children who lighten our moments with delight,
For the unborn who offer us hope for the future,
For our country and its opportunities, its freedoms, its democracy,
For women and men of different cultures whose lives, service, work and inspiration have contributed to the betterment of our land.
Faithful and loving God, help us to share with all your graciousness,
Your abundant generosity and your hospitality,
Especially those who need a touch of tender and generous love. Amen.