By Carolyn Tomlin
Contributing Columnist, B&R
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:4-5).
What a promise God gives us! If we praise and honor his name, He will remain faithful to us — even to our children and grandchildren. Throughout the holidays, count your blessings from God, remember loved ones and create connections with family and friends.
During this Thanksgiving season, families often continue with long-established traditions. But maybe, it’s time to start new ones — those that your children will remember — along with all the holiday celebrations. Does your extended family observe the day with the family gathered for the huge meal and fellowship?
Whatever your choice, use the following suggestions by starting, or adding to, your family’s Thanksgiving traditions as you gather round the dining table this season.
• Involve the entire family in planning the menu, shopping and preparation of the meal. Even young children can chop vegetables and fruit by using a plastic knife. Does your child have a favorite food? Even pizza or hot dogs can take on a seasonal twist by adding colorful ingredients. Children will remember the time spent together as a family. As parents, you are creating memories your child will recall for Thanksgiving holidays in the future.
• Involve children in preparing decorations for your Thanksgiving meal. For a simple craft, collect oak leaves several days before the holiday. Wash in warm water and pat dry. Place between several layers of newspapers and a heavy book.
On each leaf, use a gold marker and write the name of those who will be present. Collect napkins in fall colors, roll up and tie with natural-colored twine. Place a leaf under the twine.
For a centerpiece, take a nature walk and find pinecones, acorns, holly berries and other natural objects. Arrange these in a wicker basket on the table. Add a cinnamon candle for a delightful fall fragrance. Help children make a wall banner that says, “We give thanks for our family.”
• Designate one person to pray prior to the meal. A child may write their prayer in advance and read it as the blessing. If extra tables are needed for seating or people are seated in an adjacent room, ask everyone to stand together in a group for the prayer.
• After the prayer, join hands around the table and say: “May the love I have in my heart pass from my hand to yours.”
• During the meal take turns saying one thing each person is thankful for this holiday season.
• Ask each person to name one person who has made a difference in his or her life. Perhaps it was a teacher or a neighbor. What did they learn from this person? How can they pass this advice on to others?
• Encourage senior adults to relate a story about how their family celebrated Thanksgiving when they were a child.
• Invite neighbors or friends to share your meal. Look for those who will be away from their own family this season.
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing, for counting the many blessings God provides, and a time for remembering family and friends.