Keeping “the main thing the main thing” at Thanksgiving
November 20, 2015
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. (You might have to ignore the “oh, brother,” rolling eyes 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 department of the grocery store. (And last year, when I waited too long to find the Indian corn, I substituted acorns collected from a prolific oak tree)
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, America” is about as deep as it goes.
Now, each guest receives 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 on their lives…to pause…and to look with wonder at the blessings in each other’s lives.
It’s a simple tradition.
And it’s a beautiful 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 I receive from sharing simple messages of encouragement with you each week.)
Blessings to you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving.