This Thanksgiving/Christmas/special occasion, Lord,
there’ll be an empty chair at our table,
an ache in our hearts
and tears on our cheeks…

We might shield others from our grief
but we can’t hide it from you…

We pray for (name your loved ones)
whose loving presence we’ll miss
at this homecoming time…

Help us remember and tell again
the stories that knit us as one
with the ones we miss so much…

Open our hearts to joyful memories
of the love we shared
with those who’ve gone before us…

Let the bonds you forged so deep in our hearts
grow stronger yet
in remembering those who’ve left our side…

Help us pray and trust that those we miss
have a home in your heart
and a place at your table forever
and that one day we’ll be one with them
once again…

Teach us to lean on you and on one another
for the strength we need
to walk through these difficult days…

Open our eyes and our hearts
to the healing, the warmth
and the peace of your presence…

Give us quiet moments with you in prayer,
with our memories and loss,
with our thoughts and tears…

Be with us to console us
and hold us in your arms
as you hold the ones we miss…

Even in our grief, Lord,
this is the day that you have made:
help us be glad in the peace you’ve promised,
the peace we pray you share
with those who’ve gone before us…

For ourselves, Lord,
and for all who find the holidays to be a difficult time,
we make this prayer…


by Fr. Austin Fleming