Thankful Traditions… by JoAnn


This past Thanksgiving, I was reminded of an event many people like to partake in during the holidays, usually on Thanksgiving or Christmas day, when all of the family and guests sit around the dinner table. You probably know the one I am about to mention. It’s when they start with one person saying what they are thankful for and then going around the table or room until each person has given a reason for their personal thankfulness.

Whenever I saw this tradition in the movies, I always thought it was a sweet gesture. Something to break the ice among relatives who may only see one another once a year. Or a way to get the youngsters involved in the conversation and make them feel important, too.

Sometimes, it may be a funny answer that someone will give as to what they are thankful for. Perhaps it’s Mom not burning the turkey this year, or dinner finally being ready. Or a more serious subject like a loved one being able to come home after a long stint overseas in the military or a special guest who is newly widowed and would have been alone this year.

Even though my family has not made it a tradition to have the round of thankfulness each year, I would like to start. We didn’t do it on Thanksgiving last week, I don’t believe anyone even thought about it, but for Christmas, I plan to bring up the idea. I would enjoy hearing what my grandchildren are thankful for, who gets in a witty answer, and who can put some tears in my eyes.

I remember a time at a church service many years ago. On Christmas Eve, the pastor had everyone attending our small church make a circle around the sanctuary that night. We held hands while beautiful Christmas music played in the background. The pastor asked the person to his left to say what they were most thankful for from our heavenly father. One by one, each person, young and old, took their turn to say why they were thankful.

Although I have never been one to stand up in front of a group of people and speak in any manner, I felt at peace that night. I wanted very much to publicly thank my precious Lord. It took a while for my turn to come around, and when it did, I spoke loudly and clearly. I wanted to thank my Lord for always being patient with me. I explained that I could sometimes take a while to make decisions, change my ways, or “get” the correct answer. I said with a laugh that He knows how I am and remains forever patient with me. I saw many heads nod, and I could tell that what I had said struck a chord in a few others as well. That pleased me and let me know that I wasn’t alone.

Thankfulness is essential all year round. Everything we do should be done in love, including the act of thankfulness. I can’t wait to bring the idea to my daughter and see what she thinks. I have a feeling she will love the idea of making it a tradition as much as I do.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on November 28, 2023 at 11:04 am

    Amen! Well written JoAnn.

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