Many of us may be gathering around a bountiful table, surrounded by the people we love – and who love us – laden with delicious foods and fine treats traditionally served on Thanksgiving.
If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, you may know that I was born in Canada. And while Canadians do not celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
Growing up, we didn’t have many immediate family living nearby. My parents had siblings and parents living abroad in Lebanon, and many of them moved to Canada to join us later in our childhood. We did, however, have the most amazing extended family and I always looked forward to the holidays because it guaranteed some quality time with them.
My aunt, Brenda, usually hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas at her house. There were a few times when we celebrated in our own home, but her holiday feasts were always something I looked forward to. Turkey and ham and dressing and, and, and. The food on the table was endless. I was a fan of ham, and my mom never really prepared ham, so…maybe my excitement had a little to do with knowing there would be ham at the table.
Brenda’s husband, Kelly, was one of my favorite humans. While he is no longer with us – gone far too soon – he always gave the toast before Thanksgiving, and it was always epic. Beautifully written, perfectly stated, nary was there a dry eye in the house after his toast.
Even in difficult times, he found the words to speak aloud the thankfulness we all felt in being together, gathered around a beautiful table, together.
In our custom, it is tradition to keep the dead in our thoughts and prayers – and to wish their loved ones “memory eternal” in their name. Uncle Kelly’s memory will live eternally in my own mind because of his beautiful spirit – and because he was such a fierce lover of those he kept close.
So, when we gather around our thanksgiving table this year, this is the toast I plan to share with the ones we love.
A Thanksgiving Toast
Gathered around this table, with thankfulness in our hearts and on our minds
We remember the ones we’ve loved and lost, and the unbreakable tie that binds
Family and friends who are together again, were never really kept apart
We are grateful to have you here tonight, you are near and dear to our hearts
We see the bounty and beauty of the food before us, for which we give thanks to Him
We thank Him too for the bounty of our lives, our homes and hearts filled up to the brim
While nothing is perfect and we all have our struggles, it’s important to show Him gratitude
Thank you, Dear Lord, for all good things, and we ask You to bless us and this food
And, while we are focused and thinking of You, I humbly make one last request
Please grant us the miracles we seek in our hearts, we hope and pray for Your divine bequest
I wish every one of you a most bountiful and beautiful Thanksgiving, surrounded by people you love, and who love you. I hope this for every single person reading this today. I hope this for you, always – and not only on Thanksgiving, but every day.