In just a few days, we will be gathering with family and friends for this wonderful annual feast, enjoying turkey and dressing and all the “fixings” and being grateful, once again, for pants with elastic waistbands.
But what about the real reason for the celebration? It’s not uncommon for more Thanksgiving time and energy to be spent on the creation of Black Friday shopping lists than on thanking God for His many blessings.
Here’s a simple way to “keep the main thing the main thing” on Thanksgiving. Yes, you might have to ignore the “oh, brother” eye rolling of some of your guests. But even the most cynical participants will benefit from this tradition.
Place kernels of Indian corn at each place setting.You can generally find Indian corn in the produce section of the grocery store. One year, I waited too long to buy the Indian corn and substituted acorns from a nearby prolific oak tree. That worked just fine!
As the meal is settling and dessert is anticipated, pass a basket around the table. Ask each person to place a kernel of corn in the basket as they specifically express gratitude for something in their life.
Continue passing the basket around the table, person by person, kernel by kernel, listening to the specific reasons for thanksgiving in each other’s lives.
When I began this tradition many years ago, I would place three or four kernels at each place setting. What I learned is that when people are just asked to list three blessings, “family, good health, living in America” is about as deep as it goes.
Then, I began giving each guest 10 kernels.While some might consider this torture, I consider it a beautiful way to “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Being asked to share 10 specific reasons for gratitude leads your guests to reflect more deeply on their lives…to pause…and to look with wonder at their abundant blessings.
Yes, life might be very painful for some this Thanksgiving. There might be an empty seat at the table due to a loved one’s death, a life-threatening illness might have just been diagnosed, or relationships with family members could be strained or broken.
Adopting this simple tradition is a wonderful way to shift every guest’s focus from the painful or challenging aspects of life to the many reasons we all have for gratitude.
This is a beautiful and simple way to keep the “thanks” in Thanksgiving.
(And just so you know, one of my 10 reasons for gratitude this year will be the joy and fulfillment that I receive from sharing simple messages of encouragement with you through this blog and through the life-giving message of Leave Nothing Unsaid.)
Blessings to you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving.
“I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.”