An Armenian Thanksgiving Prayer

Let us all bow our heads in prayer on this Thanksgiving Day and offer our gratitude for bountiful health, the food we are about to partake, the welfare of our families, and for the privilege of remaining proud and conscientious Armenians.

On this day, let us join our hands in unity, offer a prayer of hope to the destitute of Armenia, bring a jolt of prosperity to a declining economy, and end the turmoil on the Azeri border. Bring our soldiers home to their families in the safety and security of their homes.

Give us the strength to bury our scruples, turn our divided churches into one, erase our political differences, and dwell on common ground. Let us educate our children properly by introducing them to Armenian language, culture, and history.

Dear God, bolster our communities in each and every country of the world to remain in the forefront of activity. Put our Armenians into public office, make them editors of our daily papers, give them the opportunity to chair committees and preside over influential boards. Let them be successful in whatever vocation they may choose.

An Armenian from Chile wrote to say he was disappointed in the Armenian race because his cup was overflowing with negativity—and that Armenians were their own worst enemies. He had written a story about why he was no longer allowed to be an Armenian, tired of the fundraising, disappointed at seeing his children assimilated.

It was a sad testimony, possibly shared by others.

To all of you who are being torn from your roots, consider this on Thanksgiving Day. Had you been born to another ethnic race, would your life have been any less intriguing, involved, inspired? Surely, there are moments of trepidation, rigmarole, and disenchantment. But there are also moments of gratitude and fulfillment. Just stand before an auditorium of young students singing their Armenian songs and reciting their poetry and you will see the future in pretty good hands.

Listen to a Badarak that’s centuries old and how it has maintained its antiquity. Hear the language spoken in a home and you shall have your answer.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let us dwell upon our many assets, not our shortfalls, and give strength to the meek. To those who may deny their Christian heritage, find no kinship with God, we commiserate with you. Join a church. Say a prayer. Fill your heart with spirituality. It’s not such a bad alternative.

Dear God, bless every remaining genocide survivor. If only they live long enough to hear an admission of guilt by Turkey or some sort of recognition by this country in which they reside—this country which had become their haven for opportunity and freedom.
Bless the souls that have gone before them. Let us build upon their dreams, make genocide education a component of school education so that history might not repeat itself.

On this Thanksgiving Day, let us pledge to support a charity, whether here or abroad, give what we might afford, sponsor a child in an Armenian orphanage abroad, perhaps even consider an adoption.

Let us fill our universities with Armenian chairs, organize Armenian clubs, keep our teenagers from going astray, give them a reason to remain intact, and fill our libraries with Armenian books so others may benefit. Knowledge is power. Education is the Armenian lifeblood.

Keep the lines of communication open by preserving our ethnic press universally. Give us a voice that will echo throughout the mainstream of society, allow us the chance to create new writers and new literary giants in our midst. Let us become ambassadors for the Armenian Cause.

Dear God, let every Armenian who’s apathetic or secluded gain a new lease that will allow them to become contributing members of their ancestry—our society. Maybe all it takes is one lecture, concert, or observance. Make your time count, not count time.

On this Thanksgiving, find the sustenance to burn new energy. For those who are too involved, come back to your families. Find a sense of balance and relish the diversity. To those who are distant, pledge a new set of values. A nation will die when a good man goes astray.

No one hates a job well done. On this Thanksgiving Day, instead of putting others in their place, find a place for yourself. A lot of good would be accomplished in our Armenian world if everyone pitched in and nobody cared who got the credit.

Bless us with the goodness of life, regardless of where we might live, eat or pray. As with any banquet or feast, wait for dessert. The best is yet to come.



Tom Vartabedian

Tom Vartabedian is a retired journalist with the Haverhill Gazette, where he spent 40 years as an award-winning writer and photographer. He has volunteered his services for the past 46 years as a columnist and correspondent with the Armenian Weekly, where his pet project was the publication of a special issue of the AYF Olympics each September.

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  1. This was beautiful Tom.. just Beautiful.

    I join in this prayer and say AMEN…

    Very touching and inspirational…

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my Armenians in US and everywhere in the world.. We have survived and will survive. Let’s be united and work together.. United we will be strong and mighty.. Helping each other and not uprooting one another will allow us to become successful.. Cherishing and preserving our arts, music and culture will keep our name on the scriptures of our wordly books… Love each other and respect one another….We are God’s ancient people and will remain as such.. 

    God Bless…

    Thanks Giving Day

    Thanks for the day
    That you were born
    Blessed by parents
    Of your own.

    Thanks for the days
    That you were breast fed
    Cuddled cheerfully
    In mother’s bed.

    Thanks for the day
    You went to school
    Learning to write on
    “Thanks giving days…”

    Thanks for the day
    You haven’t met
    Evil eyes, hearts, hands,
    Unfriendly faith!

    Thanks for the day
    You have no pain.
    View the pearly sky
    Hear robins singing again.

    Thanks for the day
    You can wash self
    Don’t need others
    To give you help.

    Thanks for the day
    You soulfully smile
    Can suppress despair
    Without remedial blare.

    Thanks for the day
    You haven’t mourned.
    Pray, spray sour
    On hard days gone.

    Thanks for the day
    You found your love
    Feeling real spirit
    Breathing hearty share.

    Finely, thanks for the day
    You heard stories of genocide
    But never saw the real screen
    Hopes…Never hear… see…

    (C) Sylva Portoian, MD

    At the end
    Thanks for Tom
    Who wants us to unite
    With Heart and Souls
    And behave real Armenians
    Teaching new cohorts
    Our amazing heritage….

  3. Thank you Sylvia. Your poetry complemented my prayer very well indeed. I shall use it to bless our dinner table this Thanksgiving because it doesn’t get any more appropriate than this. May God bless you and your passion for the written word.

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