Since the writers on the Scripture Dig currently call the United States home, we’re all preparing for the American holiday of Thanksgiving next week. We’ve looked at how Biblical characters such as Noah, Hannah, Job, and the Grateful Samaritan expressed thanksgiving. Since we’ve been considering gratitude, we want to give you some practical ideas of what “Thanks” may look like in our own homes. We’re giving these to you now, so you might weave gratitude into your celebrations. If we want to have a true attitude of gratitude present in our holiday homes, we do well to plan ahead. Here are some ideas for how thankfulness looks in some of our homes:
Stephanie ~ One of the things I tried to implement was to have a “Blessings Jar” all year. Every time God answered a prayer or we saw Him do something so “obviously God,” we would write it down and put it in the jar throughout the year. At Thanksgiving, we would take turns taking one out of the jar and reflecting on God’s hand in our lives. That caused us to be thankful for all He had done for us!
Kathy ~ Throughout the Old Testament, at turning points and key celebrations, Israel often recounted where God had brought them over the years. They would remember how He choose Abraham, made them a people, and brought them out of slavery in Egypt. They would reflect on God bringing them into the Promised Land, how He conquered their enemies, and the way His loving hand settled them into their new home. Like Israel, our family has seen many travels and changes over the years. Since Wayne and I married, we’ve moved five times. Almost three decades later, our oldest daughter is married, our second daughter is engaged, and our son will graduate from high school this year. Our little nuclear family is now grown up and spread out. When the family gathers at Thanksgiving we usually talk about those years, the “growing up” of our family. It’s obvious God has used Wayne’s job to put us where He wants us to be. He has granted us many experiences with Him and given us many things to be thankful for. This year, our Thanksgiving meal will feature a “Turdukin.” This Cajun creation of turkey, duck, and chicken – which is all generously stuffed with crawfish dressing – is a tasty reminder of our Louisiana roots, the place where our journey with God all began.
Teri Lynne ~ I think the one idea that we have best incorporated into our Thanksgiving celebrations is including widows and others who might be alone for the holidays. It’s no work to set an extra place or two at the table, but the joy of sharing our day with someone who would otherwise be alone magnifies the best parts of the thanks. We’ve shared our meal with many over the past few years and always found that the blessing received was ours.
For us, living out “whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done for Me” (Matthew 25:40) is an intentional part of all our holiday celebrations.
Julie ~ I love to put excerpts of God’s Word on the table. I guess you could call it “decorating with a purpose.” I’ve use picture put excerpts of God’s Word on the table. I guess you could call it “decorating with a purpose.” I’ve use picture frames with scripture inside, paper napkin holders with verses, ribbons of scripture woven through the centerpiece, and verses on namecards, to name a few. I like to make a card with a verse for the season and incorporate it in doorway decorations (wreath, basket, chair, vines, etc); it declares the reason for our joy before people even step inside our doorway. We have often placed short passages of scripture at each place, so that we can go around the table and read God’s words aloud, before we share specific reasons for gratitude or hold hands to pray. When people look around our home during the holidays, I want them to see God’s words in our house and see God’s work in our lives.
Kristi ~ Kristi also loves “decorating with purpose” and shared an excellent example of how to be resourceful & create meaningful symbols of gratitude for your home. Check out this post for tips on how to make your own.
Sandra ~ Flexibility is a key to letting gratitude wash over our celebrations. Sandra says that sometimes they end up celebrating “Thanksmas” ;) as they combine holidays in extended family visits. It’s a great reminder not to become attached to the “things” or the “traditions.” They are just a means of helping us incorporate what means the most. Use a variety of ideas and expressions to draw out your family’s attitude of gratitude all throughout the season of celebration.
Did these ideas get your mental wheels turning? Sometimes it feels awkward for families to share thanks together, but when we do a little planning, we help those around our tables to consider & respond to the goodness of our God. God’s Word is living and active in our lives and homes, and we want it to influence the way we give thanks.
Tomorrow we’ll share a few “new” ideas for expressing thanks at home. We hope you’ll share something you do to make gratitude personal for your family.