While the secular world began preparing for Christmas a few days ago with Black Friday sales, today many Christians will begin preparing for Christmas by celebrating the first Sunday of Advent. This holiday season I am focusing on maintaining an attitude of gratitude, even after all the leftover turkey has been eaten and the last slice of pie has been devoured.
Remembering all I have to be thankful for will make it easier to focus on the reason for the season and resist the pressure to want more. I think the prayer of general Thanksgiving from the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer is a good place to start.
Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us.
We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation,
for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love.
We thank you for the blessing of family and friends,
and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side.
We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts,
and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us.
We thank you also for those disappointments and failures
that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone.
Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ;
for the truth of his Word and the example of his life;
for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation;
for his dying, through which he overcame death;
and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom.
Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known;
and through him, at all times and in all places,
may give thanks to you in all things.