Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving traditions for your family

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is very special time in most families. Traditions and teachable moments with your family or friends can make it even more precious.

Each year, we make a small box, and the kids decorate it. It is simply known as the “Blessing box.” In it, throughout Thanksgiving until Christmas, each of us will put small slips of paper inscribed with something or someone we are thankful for. We also put prayers and concerns in it.

As Christmas approaches, we gather them into a special envelope. We create this beautiful “Blessing envelope” and we hang it as a Christmas ornament on our tree. We have these envelopes going back to the year we married.

Each Christmas Eve, the kids select one of the envelopes and we read it out loud. They hear how we had been praying for them years before they were born. They read how we were struggling through paying off student loan years ago. We are able to share memories and blessings of relative long since in eternity.

No tradition starts until one person decides they will. I encourage you to be that person this year, if your family does not share a sacred tradition. In just two years, it will feel like you have “always” done it.

Another tradition that we do not currently do, but sounds meaningful enough to share, is the “passing of the kernels.” Barbara Rainey of Family Life ministry shared this one.

A family passes a basket around the table. Each person’s plate has five kernels of corn on it, and each take turns putting the kernels into the basket. For each kernel, you say one thing for which you are thankful. (These can be written so that you can reread them in future years.)

There’s a story behind the five kernels. After the very first Thanksgiving, more settlers from England landed at Plymouth, but they didn’t bring any provisions. As winter began, the food supply was quickly exhausted, so the governor instituted a daily ration of five kernels of corn per member of the colony per day.

If you have not, I encourage your family to adopt a meaningful ritual that will be passed down far beyond our generation. We have much to be thankful for.