Friday, November 22, 2013
For the past few years, our Thanksgiving celebrations have become an opportunity to share not just a meal, but also the blessings we've experienced over the last year. We write them on some seasonal symbol -- autumn leaves, acorns, pumpkins -- and as people come for Thanksgiving dinner, we post them somewhere, usually in the kitchen, since everyone ends up in the kitchen sooner or later.
I try to send out the leaves or the acorns or the pumpkins a week or two before Thanksgiving so everyone has a chance to think about their blessings. That's part of the fun, too -- taking a bit of time to remember and write down all the good things that have happened, all the blessings we've experienced individually, and as a family.
Each year I keep those symbols with any other mementoes of that particular Thanksgiving, and once in awhile I look through them. They are a record of family joys, news, and growth, and a way of reliving a year's worth of blessings. As I sift through them, I am reminded all over again of how much we have to be thankful for.
Like every family, we have difficult times, disagreements, secret sorrows. Naming the things for which we are grateful, focusing on thanksgiving helps to balance out those things, and gives us a measure of strength to carry on -- a kind of secret weapon against all the things that wear us down and out.
And it's fun to see what the rest of the family comes up with, to compare the perspective of the 4-year old with the 80-year old, to see if anyone has a bit of good news to share (like "we're thankful for the new baby on the way!"), to appreciate the artistic stylings of family members who improve on the standard leaves or acorns or pumpkins.
Invite your family to list their blessings, and enjoy the way they multiply.