Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. There is nothing like the warmth that spreads through the house as a turkey roasts in the oven. The table set carefully with mismatched chairs pulled up to accommodate the ever-growing family. The mod-podge of dishes and bowls and platters touting all manner of delicacies and treats. The moments after a scrumptious meal when seats are pushed back in satisfaction and me and my sisters rolling our eyes as mom asks, So what is everyone thankful for this year?
With small children at home, it’s easy to get lost in the hub-bub of Christmas. It’s easy to build traditions with cookie decorating, name drawing, gift giving, Advent observing, Luke 2 reading, stocking stuffing, and present opening. But I want Thanksgiving to always be an important day of quietness and rest in my home before the Christmas season starts. A day to gather with family and friends. A day to be grateful for all we have. A day to reflect on the goodness of the Lord, before we start watching for His coming during Advent.
Here are some of our Thanksgiving traditions (some we will just begin this year!)
- A Special Breakfast Time: We will be having Breakfast Cake (I got the recipe for this coffee cake from Noel Piper’s book Treasuring God in Our Traditions. It’s delicious!) and fruit salad. It doesn’t matter what your special breakfast is, just that you begin the day together enjoying a special treat. Maybe it’s homemade cinnamon rolls or pancakes and eggs– something you don’t often get to enjoy together as a family.
- Watching a Christmas movie for the first time of the season (Our favorites are Elf, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Nativity Story)
- Sharing a meal with family and/or friends: One thing I always appreciated about my parents was their spirit of hospitality. I often brought home friends from college for holidays when they had nowhere else to go. Even after we were married, Hubby and I brought another family to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving one year because they lived too far away from their parents to go home. I always want to create the same kind of welcoming environment in my home for the holidays.
- A Sharing/Reflection Time: My mom always initiated this after our big dinner. I plan to spend some time sharing as a family during our breakfast meal, and I will begin by reading A Psalm of Thanksgiving. (It’s just pieces of the psalms that I’ve put together to create a psalm of thanksgiving to the Lord.)
A Psalm of Thanksgiving
Oh come, let us sing to the LORD;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
For the LORD is a great God,
and a great King above all gods. (from Psalm 95)
I wash my hands in innocence
and go around your altar, O LORD,
proclaiming thanksgiving aloud,
and telling all your wondrous deeds. (from Psalm 26)
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me;
to one who orders his way rightly
I will show the salvation of God!” (from Psalm 50)
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.(from Psalm 69)
O LORD, I am your servant;
I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the LORD. (from Psalm 116)
Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills.
He gives to the beasts their food,
and to the young ravens that cry.
His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love. (from Psalm 147)
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy! (from Psalm 107)
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. (from Psalm 100)
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?