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Women Living Well Blog: Thanksgiving Traditions

Women Living Well Blog

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

The word "tradition" is not found in the Old Testament but God does give instructions for remembering works that God has done through practices that are called traditions. Exodus 12:42 is speaking about the Passover and says "Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come."


Here's how we are to practice traditions:

1. Use them to remember what the Lord has done for us - "Because the Lord kept vigil".

2. Use them "to honor the Lord".

3. Teach them to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren so they too will honor the Lord - "for the generations to come".


Noel Piper says "A tradition is a planned habit with significance."


Do you need an idea for a tradition to start? Here's a few ideas:
1. I bought a notebook that has fall colors on the cover last year and began a "Thanksgiving Journal". Each family member wrote a paragraph in the journal of things we were thankful for. Already just one year later I delighted in reading about the kids favorite toys, friends, teachers and trips! I know that in 20 years this journal will be priceless!


2. This year we are reading The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. After we read it, all the guests in our house for dinner (22) will be asked to write on a paper leaf one thing they have been given this year that they are thankful for. Then we will take turns sticking our leaves to a tree trunk...and we will have created our own Thanksgiving Giving Tree!


3. My friend Karen shared her tradition: "This isn't a family one (I'm single), nor is it especially meaningful, but it's fun. Each year I have my preschool students tell me how they would cook Thanksgiving dinner. (The hardest part is not chuckling as they very seriously tell me just how to make each thing). I put them all together in a little "cookbook" to give to their families. The parents always enjoy reading their children's creativity! My extended family loves to read them every year, too, so I make sure that I always bring a copy of the book to Thanksgiving dinner."

4. My friend Kelly shared her tradition: "We are doing something new this year. I'm having the kids take their little kiddie cameras and take pictures of things they are thankful for (before Thanksgiving). Then I'm going to print them out and on Thanksgiving (after dinner when we are just hanging out with the family), they can make a "thankfulness collage" with the print out pictures! It will keep them busy and will also keep their minds and hearts in the right place! They are already chomping at the bit to take pictures!"

5. A Women Living Well reader named Brooke wrote "I just received the book "Growing Together in Gratitude" by Barbara Rainey. It is a book with stories of faith for families. I heard about it on the radio through Family Life. We are reading one story as a family every week and then we share what we are thankful for that week."

6. And finally, make a turkey body out of construction paper. Give each person in the family a construction paper feather and have them write on it one thing they are thankful for. Then stick all the feathers on for all to see and rejoice in!

I hope this stirs in your heart a desire to make Thanksgiving meaningful for your family. If you have a family tradition you'd like to share please share it in the comment section!

Walk with the King!

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11 Comments:

Blogger Melodie said...

These are great ideas! I purchased foam trees from Oriental Trading that come with fall leaves. Each member of the family has their own tree and each night after reading our dinnertime devotion, each person writes something they are thankful for for a member of our family and glues it on the tree. My boys LOVE this... and so do my husband and I :) It has changed a dynamic in our home and I have decided to do this all year round with wooden boxes from Hobby Lobby and scrapbooking decorations glued on them for each family member!

November 23, 2009 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

Melodie - Great idea! And what I love even more is that you have decided to do this year round!! Wow! That's awesome and your kids will be so blessed by this tradition!

Thank you for sharing!
Courtney

November 23, 2009 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Courtney--

I was actually just thinking about you and had to come over and ask you to read two posts of mine. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions for remaining thankful/prayerful....well, any encouragement whatsoever would be wonderful right now. I have another post scheduled for tomorrow as well. Here is a link to the first, which will link to the second at the bottom of the post.

http://yesiknowwhatcausesthat.blogspot.com/2009/11/moneyor-family.html

November 23, 2009 at 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Sofie Findley said...

I've done the Thanksgiving Tree for 3 years now and my family writes on the tree leaves of what they are thankful for. I just never thought of the book. What a great idea to read aloud! I have my sisters, brother and parents at my house every year when we can all be together. There are 10 grandchildren and this would be great for them and us adults too!I also loved the Thanksgiving journal. I think we're going to start that this year too. Thanks for sharing and thank for your time to keep this blog going!!

November 24, 2009 at 7:08 PM  
Anonymous Jackie S. said...

Our family does something similar. For each person's name/placecard, we draw them out of a basket and secretly write why you're thankful for that person. Then, we place them back at their place setting and later on, after dinner, we go around the table and read aloud what's inscribed on the card. They then have to guess who wrote the kind words. It's a lot of fun for everyone!

December 13, 2009 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Sarah beth said...

Really enjoyed reading all the special traditions!

I enjoy adding new ones to our holidays!

We have fun with a similar idea, I call it count your blessings!

http://hislovingpresence.blogspot.com/2010/11/count-your-blessings.html


Happy Thanksgiving!!!

November 24, 2010 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Wonderful ideas! I love that book- The Giving Tree :)

Also, love the tie-in to biblical traditions!

November 24, 2010 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Mellissa said...

Our kids are making the butter. Heavy Whipping cream and little jars- plus lots of shaking- FUN!

Thank you for the ideas!

We will be offering a family prayer, and having each family member talk about all the things they are thankful for! We do this just before dinner, to help set the tone for a festive and blessed evening =)

November 24, 2010 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger monkeymom said...

"Five Kernels of Corn"

We place five kernels of corn at each place setting.
Then we read this from the Light and the Glory for Children. by Peter Marshall and David Manuel

"During the winter of 1621-22, the Pilgrims entered a 'starving time' like the settlers in Jamestown. Plymouth now had thirty-five extra people so supplies went quickly. They were down to a daily ration of only five kernels of corn apiece. But, as always, they had a choice, They could either give in to bitterness and despair, or they could trust Jesus. They chose Jesus.

Unexpectedly, a ship put into their harbor one day on its way from Virgina back to England. While the captain had little extra food, he did have trading goods. He agreed to trade his corn for beaver pelts. The Pilgrims now had food until spring! Unlike the settlers at James town, not a single person starved to death. God had taken care of the Pilgrims again.

Another year passed. It was now spring 1623, and time to plant once again. The settlers needed twice as much corn this year to feed the growing colony. The ruling group of men in Plymouth decided to permit a second planting. After finishing the common cornfield, the settlers could plant for themselves on land of their own.

The Pilgrims worked hard and completed both plantings, but drought came. For twenty weeks, no rain fell. Leaves of corn hung limp on the stalks. The beans looked as if they had been burned in a fire.

'The Lord is trying to tell us something,' Brewster preached to the congregation. 'We must look into our own hearts and humble ourselves before Him.'

What was happening? The Pilgrims did not know. But they did know that the best thing to do was to turn to God. The Pilgrims began to search their hearts. Had greed taken hold of them when they planted their own crops? Had they become too self-centered? The Pilgrims waited for God to answer. The leaders declared a day of fasting and prayer.

That morning everyone gathered in the blockhouse. They spent many hours praying and praising God. By the time they left, dark clouds were seen rolling across the sky. By morning, a soft, sweet rain had begun to fall. For fourteen days, this rain gently soaked the parched earth.

That season, the Pilgrims harvested all the corn they needed for the upcoming winter. They even had extra corn to trade! God had performed another miracle for His beloved.

The Pilgrims planned a second thanksgiving. Again, the Indians joined them because they, too, recognized the hand of God in ending the drought. Laughter and games filled the colony. Tables overflowd with delicious food. And, at each plate lay five kernels of corn . . .so no one would forget Gods loving care."

We then pass a cup around, each of us taking a turn to place our five kernels into the cup, one at a time, while sharing five things we are thankful for.

If I had a garden I would use corn seeds. Then I could plant the seeds in five rows and remember our blessings all summer. I would call it our thankful garden.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2010 at 2:18 AM  
Blogger monkeymom said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 26, 2010 at 2:24 AM  
Blogger monkeymom said...

"Five Kernels of Corn"

We place five kernels of corn at each place setting.
Then we read this from the Light and the Glory for Children. by Peter Marshall and David Manuel

"During the winter of 1621-22, the Pilgrims entered a 'starving time'. . . They were down to a daily ration of only five kernels of corn apiece. But, as always, they had a choice, They could either give in to bitterness and despair, or they could trust Jesus. They chose Jesus.

Unexpectedly, a ship put into their harbor one day . . .the captain agreed to trade his corn for beaver pelts. The Pilgrims now had food until spring!

Another year passed. It was now spring 1623, and time to plant once again. The settlers needed twice as much corn this year to feed the growing colony.

The Pilgrims worked hard and completed two plantings, but drought came. For twenty weeks, no rain fell. . .

What was happening? The Pilgrims did not know. But they did know that the best thing to do was to turn to God... The Pilgrims waited for God to answer. The leaders declared a day of fasting and prayer.

That morning everyone gathered in the blockhouse. They spent many hours praying and praising God. By the time they left, dark clouds were seen rolling across the sky. By morning, a soft, sweet rain had begun to fall. For fourteen days, this rain gently soaked the parched earth.

That season, the Pilgrims harvested all the corn they needed for the upcoming winter. They even had extra corn to trade! God had performed another miracle. . .

The Pilgrims planned a second thanksgiving.. .Tables overflowed with delicious food. And, at each plate lay five kernels of corn . . .so no one would forget Gods loving care."

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2010 at 2:27 AM  

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