And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.

Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them… There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:16-18
Heavenly Father, this portion of your Word highlights the wonders of your love, the heartbeat of the gospel, and the essence of your being. We praise, bless, and adore you for being so generous, merciful, and grace-full.

It also underscores our calling to love all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations, all the time—including on Thanksgiving Day. We need to prep our hearts for this Thursday, not just our kitchens.

Relationships expose our need for the gospel more than anything else. At a time when our nation, families, and friendships are divided along political, cultural, or spiritual lines, may your love be supersized in our hearts and celebrated in our midst.

Because of your great love for us in Jesus, we don’t have to be afraid of the risks of love. As this Scriptures says, we can “know and rely on the love God has for us”. May your perfect love continue to drive out all our fears—including the fears related to the loving in stressed, awkward, or broken family stories.

Help us love one another in fresh and creative ways. Give us thick skins, so we won’t take things too personally. Give us big hearts, so we’ll love family members for who they are, not who we want them to be. Fill us with your compassion, patience, and joy. None of us is beyond the need or reach of your grace.

Replace our irritation with intrigue, and our hair-trigger reactions with long-fused respect. May we “roll out the red carpet,” more than we roll our eyes. May we listen to one another, more than we launch at each other’s views. May we cherish more than we challenge one another.

Whatever culinary delights decorate our Thanksgiving menu, may the greatest feast be your welcoming heart, Fatherly kindness, and extraordinary grace. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ tender and triumphant name.