The Chapel of Thanksgiving at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas

beautiful spiral of colorful stained glass inside thanksgiving square, dallas texas
stained glass ceiling at Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas, Texas

Celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving in downtown Dallas

It was a dreary winters day in Dallas, Texas, and the hash wind was biting. The Great State of Texas, despite its evocative imagery of cowboys and scorching deserts, can have frigid winters, made even more unpleasant by their characteristic rainy wetness. Cold is cold, but cold and rainy is something else entirely.

Even though I grew up in the Dallas area before moving to Thailand, I had never visited downtown's Thanksgiving Square before. On that icy cold January morning, I found Thanks-Giving Square to be a blessed monument to light and warmth.

chapel of thanksgiving in downtown dallas texas thanskgiving square
Chapel of Thanksgiving, Dallas, Texas
The Chapel of Thanksgiving, a twisting white spire that points towards the heavens, stands on a small grassy patch in the middle of downtown. Glass and chrome gleam all around as skyscrapers tower over the tiny chapel, but despite being dwarfed by its surroundings, the Chapel of Thanksgiving is what catches one's attention here. The landscaped gardens are set 15 feet below street level, with high walls blocking out the sight and sound of passing traffic, keeping the square and chapel quiet and serene.

Built in 1976 to celebrate the United State's Bicentennial, Thanks-Giving Square was envisioned as a place of worship, meditation, mindfulness, and spirituality for those living and working in Dallas. It offers a respite from the stress of the city. It's also a one-of-a-kind work of art. Every aspect of Thanks-Giving Square is steeped in meaning and symbolism.

a white spire of the interfaith chapel in dallas, texas
downtown Dallas interfaith chapel
The focal point of Thanks-Giving Square is the small interfaith Chapel of Thanksgiving. The chapel was designed after the spire of the Great Mosque of Samarra in Iraq, harking back to ancient spirituality. Surrounding the chapel are fountains, gardens, beautiful mosaics depicting people of all faiths, verses from scripture, and other inspiring quotes.

mosaic artwork at thanksgiving square, dallas, tx
a mosaic at Thanks-Giving Square
Thanks-Giving Square is about encouraging and fostering the universal spirit of thanksgiving, a constant in all of the world's religions.

Quotes on the walls of the square come from the 100th Psalm as well as from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Hindu scriptures and authorities. Thanks-Giving Square really is interfaith, in the truest sense of the word.

religious quotes at Thanksgiving square
Thanks-Giving Square
In our busy lives, it can be hard to take a moment to think about the things that we are thankful for and to be grateful for our blessings. Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday (and not just because of the amazing feast), is a wonderful day, but would't it be great if that spirit and special feeling could follow us throughout the year? That's really the purpose of Thanks-Giving Square. When taking a moment to visit the peaceful garden and chapel, hopefully the visitor will also take a moment to reflect upon his or her blessings.

court of all nations thanksgiving square dallas
The Court of All Nations at Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas, Texas

The gardens around the Chapel of Thanksgiving were beautiful, but I was cold and wet, and looking to get out of the weather. I pushed open the heavy doors to the small chapel and stepped inside. It was warm, dry, and very quiet. Soft, colorful light had washed over the floor, and looking up, I was treated to a celestial sight.

On the ceiling, the world's largest horizontal stained-glass window spiraled up and up, pointing ever higher towards the divine.

The stained glass windows were designed by Gabriel Loire, the world-renouned stained glass maker who also designed the fantastical slab glass windows in Salisbury Cathedral and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.

spiraled stained glass window at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas
spiraled stained glass window at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas, Texas

Thanks-Giving Square can represent a lot of different things to different people. It could be a place to pray, to meditate, to connect to the divine, or even just to sit in peace and admire the beauty all around. To me, it was a beautiful place to get warm and dry on a harsh winter morning. I was incredibly thankful for the shelter that it gave me, and for a quiet place to replenish my soul in the heart of a busy downtown.

Visiting The Chapel of Thanksgiving in Dallas

1627 Pacific Ave, Dallas, TX 75201, USA


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