Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And although it’s not a religious holiday it calls everyone to the table to “give thanks”. It is like a Post-it note to America to remember to stop and say thank you. It invokes gratitude, and traditionally takes place around a table, which is very beautiful and Biblical.
A few years ago as Thanksgiving approached I knew I needed a little help with this idea of thankfulness. I also knew I needed to teach my kids that Thanksgiving isn’t about stuffing, turkey and football! So I took a leftover halloween pumpkin, tied a pretty gingham bow around the stem and made it the centerpiece of our dinner table. Each night at dinner I asked the kids what they were thankful for and wrote it in sharpie around the pumpkin. It was beautiful and sat on our table well after Thanksgiving. Each year our “thankful pumpkin” has gotten a bit bigger and has become a meaningful tradition in our home.
On November first of this year I got out our ribbon, tied a bow around a fairly large pumpkin, set a sharpie next to it and put a note on it “Give Thanks Here”! I wrote the first message and left it alone in the kitchen. My children are now 16, 14 and 11 and over the past 12 days I have not asked anyone what they are thankful for, I have not needed to! On their own throughout the day they each take the time to walk to the kitchen and write something they are thankful for. And even though there are Youtube personalities and some silly things on our pumpkin, they have written things like “I am thankful for my job”, and “ I am thankful for books”. Well as you can probably imagine I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for watching this take place in my home.
Friends, as Thanksgiving approaches it’s important for us to understand what it means to be truly thankful. In our society we often allow the underlying traditions of a holiday to take the front seat and guide our time and understanding of why we are celebrating it. But when we do this it robs us of the opportunity to fully absorb the beauty and spirituality of it. It robs us of God’s intent for us to grow from it and understand Him through it! We are called to “give thanks” all throughout scripture, but how many of us truly understand what this means or how to do it? I believe if we begin to embrace a lifestyle of gratitude we will gain the gift of peace in our daily existence.
So grab a pumpkin off the front porch, find a beautiful bow to tie around the stem and invite your family to fill it with beautiful words of gratitude. When you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner light some candles around your pumpkin and talk about all of the wonderful things you have written on it as you give thanks around your table.