Friday, November 22, 2013

Sharing Thanksgiving Traditions

I am a big fan of the last two months of the year. Halloween kicks off an amazing time of year. As a military family, Veterans Day is very important to us, and then Thanksgiving, which leads into the Christmas season. Two months of love, compassion, thankfulness, and remembrance.

Many people think that Thanksgiving gets looked over, but I don't believe that's necessarily true. Although the original reason for celebrating might get lost in translation, its essence is highlighted even more in light of the Christmas season, which seems to come earlier every year. I tend to see Thanksgiving as the kick-off celebration. Christmas is all about Jesus' birth and what he would ultimately do. Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we have, thankful for what God has done for us.

The original Thanksgiving was a celebration of a full harvest of food after experiencing a particularly rough winter the year before. Of the men, women, and children who originally arrived on the Mayflower, only about half survived that first went. With the help of Squanto and his fellow Indians, the people learned to plant corn and other crops, to use the local plants, and to hunt/fish. By the time, the next harvest arrived, there was plenty to go around. They then held the feast to celebrate God's provision with their new friends.

Now, we gather together with friends and family for a meal to celebrate our "harvest," whatever that might look like for us. Some years are more bountiful than others, but we always have something to be thankful for, even if it is only the salvation provided by Jesus' death and resurrection.

Being a military family, Thanksgiving looks different every year. We haven't really been able to build too many traditions.

The past few years, though, we've done our thankful leaves. We all write what we are thankful for on leaves cut out of construction paper, and then tape them to the sliding door. The kids seem to have a lot of fun with it, and sometimes it amazes me what they find to be grateful for. There are the typical kids answers like their favorite toy or TV or the like. But, when, without prompting, they say something like Jesus's sacrifice or my family or time with Mommy/Daddy, etc. it just makes my heart melt!

And then there's pumpkin pie and fried turkey. Doesn't seem to matter where we are or who we're celebrating Thanksgiving with, those two items end up on the list somehow. ("Say, have you tried fried turkey--it's just mouth-watering!")

This year, I think I'm going to start a new tradition of having the girls weave our placemats for the big meal. We'll start with construction paper, but maybe when they're older, we'll try some weaving with something else. :)

What are your Thanksgiving traditions? Anything fun or unique?

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