In the nine days leading up to Thanksgiving I will share a novena of prayers, reflections, and music selections that may enhance the celebration of this special day with your family and friends.
Day 8: Today I will share some reflections on the busy-ness and distractions of the holidays that might detract from focusing on gratitude and family this week.
“Freedom from Want” by Norman Rockwell
Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday as a young adult. As the myriad of holiday obligations grew after I had children, the ability to stop for a day to give thanks and share a special meal and quality time with my extended family became very important to me. But over the past 25 years Thanksgiving has been joined by a plethora of distractions.
Times have changed so much since the Norman Rockwell depiction of the Thanksgiving feast. Today there are so many distractions that oftentimes the attention of many family members is anywhere other than the family. I imagine most families find that some of these distractions are technology-related.
Credit: Matt Wuerker
In yesteryear a full lineup of football games was the most common distraction. Many sports enthusiasts have insisted that the game stay on during dinner, much to the chagrin of those who have cooked and hosted the occasion.
Holiday shopping specials, Christmas music on the radio around the clock, and a Ravens game against the big rival that evening are on the minds of many of our family members and friends.
Family Circus by Jeff and Bil Keane
Today we might see a number of relatives bringing their tech gadgets to the table to take photos, read their Facebook feed, tweet, Instagram, game, and check up on what everyone in their various networks are doing at the moment. Perhaps more than a few will be following the online bargains to get some of their holiday shopping list accomplished while eating their turkey and pumpkin pie.
Credit: Joyful Toons by Mike Water
I wonder how many parents and grandparents will insist on no cell phones or iPads at the table?
Let me know if you have a strategy for dealing with distractions during the family gathering and big meal at your homes.
Credit: Joe Heller
It’s Thanksgiving Eve: Let the serious cooking preparations begin!!
Family Circus by Jeff and Bil Keane
Day 8: More Thanksgiving Prayers:
We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who came to our earth and lived in a simple home. We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he loved and was loved within its shelter. Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.
From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley
Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.
From The Catholic Prayer Book, compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley.
Lord, so often times, as any other day,
When we sit down to our meal and pray,
We hurry along and make fast the blessing
Thanks, amen. Now please pass the dressing.
We’re slaves to the olfactory overload.
We must rush our prayer before the food gets cold.
But Lord, I’d like to take a few minute more
To really give thanks to what I’m thankful for:
For my family, my health, a nice soft bed,
My friends, my freedom, a roof over my head.
I’m thankful right now to be surrounded by those
Whose lives touch me more than they’ll ever possibly know.
Thankful Lord, that You’ve blessed me beyond measure.
Thankful that in my heart lives life’s greatest treasure.
That You, dear Jesus, reside in that place
And I’m ever so grateful for Your unending grace.
So please, heavenly Father, bless this food You’ve provided
And bless each and every person invited.
By Scott Wesemann
Music for a Thankful Heart: Day 8:
“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”
Enjoy this beautiful hymn of thanksgiving with the talented choir and brass ensemble of the First Baptist Church of Asheville, North Carolina.