This year, I didn’t want to skip Thanksgiving. The real meaning of giving thanks. And though we have read about the first Thanksgiving and studied Squanto and made Pilgrim puppets etc., I wanted something spiritually tangible for our kids to help them begin their own habits of giving thanks. No rote prayers; just real heartfelt giving thanks to the Lord. So, we started a family Thanksgiving Journal. Nothing fancy–just a spare spiral notebook I dug out of the school closet. I made it really official looking by scrawling “The Henze Family Thanksgiving Journal” across the front cover. It even has a spaghetti noodle dried on for extra fanciness.
It’s been such fun to record the things we are thankful for. One of our kids is always thankful for our food. And she really means it. She isn’t saying it just to fill in her spot. As we’ve progressed with our dinner-time ritual, the kids have become more interested in making sure their thoughts are recorded accurately. And, it’s always a race to see whose hand can shoot into the air first as soon as grace is said. I love that about them. They can’t wait to give thanks. Okay, they are probably competing with each other to be the first recorded, but even when that issue is settled, we spend the majority of meal time focused on the abundance of God’s good gifts to us.
And, it has helped me think…about ALL the things God is doing on my behalf. More than the food I eat, the clothes I wear, my home, my family, my friends. His grace. His sufficiency. His Lordship. His mercy. His truth. So many, many things. It would take thousands of spiral notebooks to begin. It is true: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
Here are a few excerpts from our journal, our thanks to God. And then an excerpt from His journal, His love letter to you. May you be blessed with the knowledge of all that you should be grateful for this Thanksgiving and offer a sacrifice of praise.
Emma: That Jesus came and died on the cross. That we worship Jesus at school every day. For my baby brother. That we had appetizers for dinner. That Daddy has the weekend off work. For our good family. For my art class. That I didn’t have to write spelling words today!
Ruthie: That we can watch the Olympics on TV. That we can read the Bible. That Mommy can spell really good. For our new cell phones (Mom and Dad’s that is!). For our good food. That we have cookies. For our garden this summer. For Hope’s birthday and that she is alive.
Olivia: That we went trick or treating. That I played at Emily’s house today. For our dog, Penny. For corncake. For my teacher, Miss Lisa. For sour cream. That I have a birthday. That Emma gets to go to art class even though I think I am a better artist and should be allowed to go and she should have to go to bed early. That we believe in Jesus. That Mommy and Daddy make me eat my dinner–even the proteins!
A Psalm of Thanksgiving.
1 Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness;
Come before His presence with singing.
3 Know that the LORD, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;[a]
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
5 For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.