Remembering the Blessings
Creative ways to be thankful with family this holiday season
By Pastor David and Kelley Bowen
Standing Stones Community Church/Standing Stones Christian Academy
Do people look at your family and think it should be the poster family for the next Hallmark movie? That’s nice that others think that, but you know the truth. As the calendar turns to November, hearts and nerves begin to focus on Thanksgiving and all those you will interact with over a meal or a visit. This time of year begins the Christmas season, which can also be the season of anxiety. Do you feel like you are almost forced to spend time with people that you haven’t seen since last Thanksgiving or maybe even longer? Do you find yourself explaining to whoever will listen, “This is the way it’s been for years, and it isn’t going to change; it is what it is”? If any of those statements ring true, let’s try to find a different way to approach the situation this year.
Does your family have that one person who asks inappropriate questions, the ones that make everyone feel uncomfortable? Does your family have the teenager whose face is buried in their phone because they can’t live a moment without being connected to social media? Does your family have the one whose gift is criticism and their critiques and evaluations are often obnoxious? Does your family have the self-centered one who rambles on and on about their latest project and achievement? Does your family have the one who is always checked out – they are there physically but that’s it? That’s the one who is more interested in the muted football game than the conversation at the table. OK, then I guess your family is normal because we all have family just like that.
So what can we do differently to make this year special? Here are just a few creative ideas to remember the blessings you have been blessed with, while at the same time creating some pretty cool memories.
For Thanksgiving dinner, use a tablecloth and buy a package of fabric pens, then ask everyone to write something they are thankful for on the tablecloth – notes of love for family, for our country and for our God. Let the children trace their handprints. Trust me, years down the line, those will be precious, as will Great-Grandma’s shaky writing. That too will hold a special place in your hearts in the years to come. Let this become a tradition so as the years come and go, you will be able to look back and have such amazing memories written on tablecloths.
Will you be serving dinner rolls with your Thanksgiving meal? Place a small slip of paper with words of encouragement, or a scripture verse, in the middle of each one. During dinner, ask each family member to read out loud their dinner roll note.
After Thanksgiving, many families begin to prepare for the Christmas tree. What if, this year, you got a jump on that and cut out a tree trunk from brown construction paper. Then cut out green leaves, and on each leaf have everyone write what they are thankful for. The more personal, the better. The kids will love this, but some of the adults may be reluctant at first. Once they start reading the other leaves, don’t be surprised when they too write at least one thankful thought.
These ideas will help you and your family remember all the blessings you have. Happy Thanksgiving!