There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 12:7).
Over three hundred years ago, our forefathers gathered together in this new land and gave thanks to God for the blessings which He bestowed on them during the year. With the many daily challenges they faced in this untamed land they still chose to set aside a day in order to give thanks.
I hope that this coming week enables each of us an opportunity to sit with our children and discuss the personal blessings which God has given to our families this past year. It’s a great opportunity to talk with our kids about why we celebrate Thanksgiving, its history and to also discuss our own family traditions. It’s also a good time to remind them that Thanksgiving is so much more than some commercial holiday when we eat turkey, watch football and rest up before getting up super early on Black Friday—the biggest sale day of the year! Yes, it’s much more than that…
Family traditions make the holidays so special. They personalize these wonderful celebrations! Like most ethnically blended families, many of our traditions seem to come in the way of the food we prepare; the chorizo and corn bread stuffing, the rigatoni and meatballs, the hate-it or love-it green bean casserole and my mom’s homemade pumpkin pies—which no one has been able to successfully copy over the years. But I think what I love the most about Thanksgiving is the prayer before we eat. My dad would always find a piece of Scripture which he felt would bless our family for personal reasons. Maybe someone had lost their job, or someone was expecting a new baby, or perhaps the passing of a loved one during the course of the year was still a raw pain in our hearts. He always chose the right Scripture that gave us Hope, peace and remind us that God was there… and above all, that we were to be thankful for His many blessings. We haven’t done a great job of this since dad passed away two years ago. Maybe this year would be a good time to honor his tradition. What traditions do you have as a family?
This summer my family took our vacation in New York City. As we rode out to Liberty Island, I imagined myself as one of the many refugees who sacrificed everything in order to come to this great country, hoping to work towards a better life; willing to do whatever it took to give their family a chance to taste freedom in America. Can you imagine seeing Lady Liberty for the first time, after weeks at sea? Now, imagine reading these words:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
~ Emma Lazarus
Happy Thanksgiving! May God’s abundant blessings in your lives, this coming year, be a reminder to you and a testimony to all of His mercies and grace.
Lisa Strnad is a contributing writer/blogger to What’s in the Bible? and Jelly Telly. She is a homeschooling mom of two, who works indepently in Christian media in the areas of writing, PR and marketing. She lives with her husband and children in Nashville,TN. Follow her personal blog posts on www.talkinglikeagirl.blogspot.com.