Ok, so we are not American and I doubt I have that many American readers, but I love the Thanksgiving celebration. What an excellent thing to do, say thank you and express gratitude to God for all the good things he has given you over the past year. Definitely in line with Old Testament practice too! My two favourite passages from the OT are:
"When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you...remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce weath, and so confirms his covenant." Deut 8:10,18
"There, in the presence of the Lord your God, you and your families shall eat and rejoice in everyhing you have put your hand to, because the Lord your God has blessed you." Deut 12:7
We started "celebrating" Thanksgiving two years ago. We don't do the food (though this would be an excellent place to make sweet potato pie, fresh from Mamie's garden!) but we do make a special time to say Thank You. The first year I borrowed the idea of making a tree and sticking leaves on it with our different thank yous. Then I thought, what a pity to not keep a record, so I got a special book and stuck them all in. The girls were little so we did it on our own.
The next year we drew around our hands and each person had to say something they were thankful for regarding that particular person, which we wrote on their handprint. LissaLou came up with her own ideas but we guessed at what CassCass would be thankful for!
At that point it struck me that we didn't need to stick to being thankful as a family once a year, so we decided to do it more often. The idea was to sit down together each Sunday afternoon and record our thanks from that week, but it has ended up being more like once a month. Here Sundays are full of family visiting so I have come to the conclusion that weekday lunchtimes will be better. LissaLou loves the time together and often asks for it, and we have also tried to learn a bible verse each time (usually as a song) but that has fallen by the wayside somewhat!
We try and get the girls involved as much as possible, so they suggest things (LissaLou always mentions her forthcoming birthday!) and maybe draw in the book. CassCass still tends to lose interest quite quickly.
Today, I hadn't really planned anything, but then all of a sudden got a creative urge this morning and decided rather than make a Thanksgiving Oak Tree (a bit like here, which is what we did previously) we should be a bit more West Indian and make a Thanksgiving Coconut Tree! After studying the one growing up by our balcony, I used some brown paper for the trunk and got CassCass to paint the leaves green. The balcony is a great place for painting, she can make all the mess she likes. Now I am waiting for the rain to come and wash it away! Then I used the spare bits of brown paper to cut out coconuts, though in all accuracy they should be green if they are still on the tree.
As the girls are still not writing themselves, I thought it would be nice to cut out pictures of things and people we are thankful for. I love the tripleprint photos for this purpose, as I just cut out the small ones I had. I also used some magazines. Bertie and I wrote on the coconuts. Then after our lunch (yummy spaghetti bolognese, using up the last of the parmesan cheese Mum brought us, sniff!) we got discussing and sticking. LissaLou had a great time, and CassCass did a few before she started playing with Happyland! It was interesting seeing how many people's names from back home she had forgotten. We have now used up all our acid free sticky stuff, so if anyone has some lying around....?! To end, LissaLou said a thank you prayer, using the pictures as a guide, and it was great to hear how many things she included. I love hearing small children pray, they are so genuine!
Our verse this year was "Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:18.