One Heart Grace (Grace Before Meals) …

As we make ready to eat this food
we remember with gratitude
the many people, tools, animals, and plants,
air and water, sky and earth,
turned in the wheel of living and dying,
whose joyful exertion
provide our sustenance this day. Continue reading “One Heart Grace (Grace Before Meals) …”

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Advent Day 16: A Season of Mercy and Love …

The word kindness has a gentle sound that seems to echo the presence of compassionate goodness. When someone is kind to you, you feel understood and seen. There is no judgment or harsh perception directed toward you. Kindness has gracious eyes; it is not small-minded or competitive; it wants nothing back for itself. Kindness strikes a resonance with the depths of your own heart; it also suggests that your vulnerability, though somehow exposed, is not taken advantage of; rather, it has become an occasion for dignity and empathy. Kindness casts a different light, an evening light that has the depth of color and patience to illuminate what is complex and rich in difference.

Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway.
— John O’Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us 

Continue reading “Advent Day 16: A Season of Mercy and Love …”

Grace for Thanksgiving Celebrations …

Grace Before Meals
As we begin this meal with grace,
Let us become aware of the memory
Carried inside the food before us:
The quiver of the seed
Awakening in the earth,
Unfolding in a trust of roots Continue reading “Grace for Thanksgiving Celebrations …”

Feeding the Soul’s Longing for Life …

[As] you eat, know that you are feeding more than just a body. You are feeding the soul’s longing for life, its timeless desire to learn the lessons of earthly existence — love and hate, pleasure and pain, fear and faith, illusion and truth — through the vehicle of food. Ultimately, the most important aspect of nutrition is not what to eat, but how our relationship with food can teach us who we are and how we can sustain ourselves at the deepest level of being.
— Marc David (excerpt from A Grateful Heart: 365 Ways to Give Thanks at Mealtime edited by M.J. Ryan)

Blessing Prayer (For Children) …

We pray for children who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never “counted potatoes,” who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can’t find any bread to steal, who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser, whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse out the tub, who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool, who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone, whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren’t spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried and for those who must, for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.

For those we smother . . . and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

— Ina J. Hughs, an excerpt from A Grateful Heart: Daily Blessings for the Evening Meals from Buddha to the Beatles

Thanksgiving Prayer (Family and Fellowship) …

Heavenly Father
we meet together
your people
one people
your family
bound together
with the woven chord
that binds all of creation together
fashioned from your love.
Brothers and sisters
children together
One family in fellowship
with you, its Heavenly Father.
May this be a time of joy
a time for growing
a time for strengthening
a time for loving
family time
quality time
together.
— John Birch.
Read more at: http://www.faithandworship.com/

As a part of nature’s wondrous cycle
Of new birth, growth, fruitfulness and death
We rejoice in the creation of new life,
For parenthood, the passing on of knowledge,
For understanding and the wisdom of years.
We are grateful for those who have gone before
Passing on to us our spiritual heritage.
May our lives blossom as the apple tree in Spring
May we become fruitful in thought and deed
And may the seed of love that falls to the ground
Linger beyond our time upon this earth.
— John Birch.
Read more at: http://www.faithandworship.com/

We bless you, God of Seed and Harvest
And we bless each other
That the beauty of this world
And the love that created it
Might be expressed though our lives
And be a blessing to others
Now and always
AMEN
— John Birch.
Read more at: http://www.faithandworship.com/

Grace Before Christmas Dinner …

God of all gifts, we thank you for the many ways you have  blessed us this day.  We are grateful for each of those who are gathered around this table.  We ask you to bless us and our food, and to bless those we love who are not with us today.  In our gratitude and love, we remember your humble birth into our lives and pray for those who are are without enough to eat.  We remember the stable in which you were born and pray for those who have no place to live.  We remember your challenging message of caring and giving, and we pray for peace in families and nations throughout the world.  We bless you and give you thanks in your Spirit, who brings our hearts to life this Christmas Day and forever.  Amen.
— Creighton U. Online Ministries

Recommendations:


The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas


Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas


Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas


Bless This Food: Ancient and Contemporary Graces from Around the World


House Blessings: Prayers, Poems, and Toasts Celebrating Home and Family


The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna


Light Upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany


Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem


Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes

Christmas Prayer …

Loving God, help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be your children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

— Robert Louis Stevenson