Pause For a Moment to Give Thanks

11/22/2012

“Let’s pause for a moment to give thanks” 

thankful people are happyWith these words spoken as everyone sits down at the table, you present the opportunity to say Grace. If the individuals gathered around your dinner table this holiday season are from diverse religions or beliefs, you can still say a few words of thanksgiving to mark the occasion without making guests feel awkward. Perhaps it can be a chance for sharing more than one grace or blessing of the meal.

Here are a few Christian examples, including nice ones for a child to recite:

Bless us O Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful. Amen.

Bless us O Lord, for these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

God is great, God is good. Let us thank him for our food.
By his hand, we are fed; Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.

Thank you God for happy hearts, for rain and sunny weather.
Thank you God for this food and that we are together. Amen.

Thank you for the world so sweet. Thank you for the things we eat.
Thank you for the birds that sing. Thank you, God, for everything.

enjoy robert braultNon-religious people may still want to give thanks before a special meal. Anyone can say more than just Bon Appétit! Expressing appreciation of the company and gratitude for the food is all that is needed. Or this may be an opportunity to go around the table and have each person say what they are grateful for.

The Quaker tradition of “silent grace” before a meal works well for a dinner party with people of diverse beliefs. All present join hands in a circle around the table, and are silent for half a minute or so as they collect their thoughts, pray or meditate. Then the host or hostess gently squeezes the hands of the people seated closest. This signal is quickly passed around the table and everyone begins to eat and talk.

Here is a lovely Buddhist Meal Gatha that is secular:

We receive this food in gratitude to all beings

Who have helped to bring it to our table,

And vow to respond in turn to those in need

With wisdom and compassion.


A Native American thanks giving: We give thanks for the plants and animals who have given themselves so that we can enjoy this meal together.
 We also give thanks for our family and friends who have traveled here today. 
May this meal bring us strength and health.


Lastly, here’s a short and simple humanist benediction: For the meal we are about to eat, 
for those who made it possible, 
and for those with whom we are about to share it,
 we are thankful.

Saying a few words to express and encourage gratitude is a delightful way to begin any meal. I hope these examples help you to find one, or a combination of any, that will work well with your gathering.

20 responses to Pause For a Moment to Give Thanks

  1. 

    Gina,
    You always share such wonderful, uplifting and truly useful ideas and information. As I read this post, I found myself thinking: “Which one of these benedictions would best suit our gathering of friends this afternoon?” I think I’m going to go with the last one as it speaks to me of love, support, work, and gratitude in such a simple way. I love you, dear Gina. Thank you for thinking of us in the U.S. and our special day. I know you celebrated Thanksgiving in Canada last month. And I also know that for you and me, every day includes a few minutes, at least, of gratitude. I’m grateful for you.
    Hugs and love,
    Cathy

    • 

      Cathy, I feel like you are my Colorado-sister! Your sweet comment here brings bright happy tears to my eyes for a moment, so grateful am I that you enjoy and support my posts! Yes we celebrated last month, but any chance I get to share about gratitude I leap at it 🙂 I feel that these ideas would be helpful for upcoming holiday dinners through the month of December as well. And it hints at peace on earth too, by accepting others whose beliefs may differ from our own, as we sit down to break bread together. Sending love to you and yours on this deliciously celebratory day!
      Love and Hugs,
      Gina

  2. 

    Very nice sampling of different customs! thanks! z

  3. 

    Hello, Gina. What an insightful post. Yes, I was taught to be grateful to the One who provides before eating. I still do that by saying the grace. Thank you for also letting me know there are other ways and of course, other religions who have similar prayer to ours.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    • 

      Hello Uzoma. Thank you for your kind words, and for sharing that you enjoy saying a grace before meals. I think it is important for every meal 🙂 I thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes and I send them back to you as well. I believe we can all say that to each other even if we’re not living in the USA. Every day is a day for Thanks Giving!
      Be well friend, and God Bless. ~Gina

  4. 

    Happy Thanksgiving Gina!!!
    What synchronicity – I got the same message on my post today too! I wish you the happiness that comes from a thankful heart. May you continue to shine and be a blessing. Many hugs and loveliness your way and love to all at home. Sharon

    • 

      Hello and Happy Thanksgiving to you dear Sharon!
      This truly is a wonderful time of year for giving thanks and sharing the love we feel in our hearts. It is delightful to have your visit here, dear heart, and thank you for your kind wishes. May you also continue to shine as you do, and warm loving wishes to you and your beautiful family today and always.
      Happy hugs, Gina

  5. 

    Reblogged this on emocrippled.

  6. 

    Thank you, Gina. May you and yours have a wonderful day full of many of life’s greatest blessings.
    Russ

  7. 

    Beautiful!
    Thank you.

  8. 

    ¸.•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you! .♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸ ♥
    ˜”*°•.˜”*°•.˜”*°•.★★.•°*”˜.•°*”˜.•°*”˜”

  9. 

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and are in the midst of a great Thanksgiving weekend!

    • 

      Hi there Russel Ray! So nice of you to send your kind wishes. Thank you, and I hope you and James have some time off and can kick back and enjoy some time with friends, each other, and Zoey! Save some turkey for her 🙂

  10. 

    How beautiful this post is. It reminds me of my childhood and of my schooldays as a teacher! I will keep these handy and use them when the family come at Christmas. x

    • 

      This is exactly what I was hoping for, that readers may like the ideas here as a way to introduce comfortable ways to say a prayer before a meal in ‘mixed company’ so to speak. I believe holidays and special meals can embrace the new while cherishing traditions. And I adore welcoming new people to our gatherings. Thanks for your welcomed comments!