It's easy to become so busy with life that we forget to look for all the ways God is at work in our lives. Help your family become aware of God's work with these simple tools:
The Thanksgiving Box
Each year on November 1, one of my friends covers a Kleenex boutique box with fall fabric, reinforces the opening with rick-rack, then plunks it in the center of the kitchen table along with note paper and pen. Throughout the month, family members write down what they are thankful for and stick their notes in the box. On Thanksgiving night, while eating their pie, her family reads the notes aloud, sharing events ranging from comfort after the death of a loved one, to having braces finally removed, to playing in the first snow.
Five Kernels of Corn
The year following the first Thanksgiving brought greater hardship than the first. According to tradition, the Pilgrims endured a period known as the Starving Time during which they had a daily ration of five kernels of corn apiece. Still, they did not give in to bitterness or faithlessness, but continued to trust their Lord.
In our family?and in many others?we remember the faith of the Pilgrims with this tradition: Beside each place at the Thanksgiving table, place five kernels of dried corn. During the meal, pass a special cup around the table. Have each person drop a kernel into the cup while sharing something for which he is grateful. Our family loves this tradition, as even the youngest can participate!
The Thanksgiving Banner
Add some fun to your celebration with a Thanksgiving banner your family can create together.
- A large posterboard turkey (you can find this any place that sells decorations)
- Bowls of dried beans, peas, corn, and wild rice
- Small glue containers
- 2 large pieces of felt
Your objective is to accent the lines of the turkey with lines of dried beans, peas, corn, and rice. Use Elmer's glue generously?it will dry clear and your beans will be secure year after year. Try not to control the final results; they're not as important as the process.
This project will probably occupy several one-hour sessions, so use the time to share the story of the Pilgrims and to talk about the ways you've seen God's hand in your own family trials. If you have little ones, work on a piece of plywood or cardboard, so you can put everything away between sessions.
When complete, mount your turkey mosaic with glue to a large piece of felt hemmed at the top for display as a banner. Use contrasting felt to spell out the words "Thanksgiving In Our Hearts."
When you think of Christmas, one of the first things that comes to mind is all the beautiful carols and hymns we sing. Why not make a few traditional hymns part of your Thanksgiving celebration. If you don't know any, try one of these:
Come, Ye Thankful People ComeNow Thank We All Our GodWe Gather TogetherWe Plow the Seeds and Scatter
Hear the tunes and find all the verses of these and other Thanksgiving hymns at www.arose4ever.com/karen/
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