Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. I love that it begs us to stop and give thanks to God for all our many blessings. It asks us to look at life from a different perspective, one that isn't always wanting more, and to be content—yes, even downright thankful!—for what we already have. It's easy to forget year to year how we've grown and how God has blessed us. So in order for our family to remember how very blessed we are—not just one day a year, but throughout our lives—we have a couple of Thanksgiving traditions we continue to this day.
The first and my personal favorite is the Thanksgiving tablecloth. My mom bought a white linen tablecloth a dozen or more years ago and some permanent fabric markers. She asked us all to write on the tablecloth something for which we're thankful. Every year we reuse the same tablecloth and add what we're thankful for or one way in which God has blessed us that year. We all sign and date our entry. This became particularly meaningful after my father died and we could see his writing on our tablecloth and remember his legacy of faith and thanksgiving. It's also fun watching the grandchildren grow and seeing their scribbles turn to actual writing. It's a linen journal of thanks that we gather around as we eat the traditional feast each year. And because we use permanent fabric markers, the tablecloth is washable.
The other tradition is newer, only a few years old. In the Bible when people saw God at work in their lives, they often built a memorial to God out of rocks. It reminded them of what happened at that place and gave them opportunity to tell their children of God's faithfulness to them. I set a basket of smooth river rocks, usually two to three inches in diameter, in a basket. Each person takes a rock and writes on it what he's thankful for or a way God has worked in their life. They can then take the rock home and start building their family's thanksgiving memorial. It's also a way to share your faith as people see your pile of rocks and ask what it is.
There are so many ways to acknowledge God's goodness to us. It doesn't matter how it's done, only that you recognize the Giver of every good and perfect gift. So gather ’round the table and give thanks!
What Thanksgiving traditions do your family practice? If you don't have any, do you plan to start some? What will you do?