Thanksgiving: A Few of My Favorite Things

I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
    and I will glorify your name forever.
Psalm 86:12

This Thursday marks Thanksgiving, my absolute favorite holiday of the year!  The Lord willing, my husband and I will be traveling down to New Jersey where we will be joined by my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter to gather at my brother and sister-in-law's home for Thanksgiving dinner along with my parents, my younger brother and his family, and my sister-in-law's family. 

My sister-in-law always prepares a menu that would make anyone's mouth water.  Her famous mashed potato casserole is a family favorite.  Of course the turkey and all the fixings are delicious!  My mouth is literally watering as I type this.  lol. 

We all gather in their hallway between the living room, dining room and kitchen to pray and offer thanksgiving for the meal.  You will then find family members sitting and eating in the living room, dining room and kitchen.  It's a full house, filled with lots of love and laughter...

And ohh the laughter.  I usually have my biggest belly laughs on Thanksgiving which helps with digestion.  Haha.

Another Thanksgiving  Day family tradition is a Denville Dairy Ice Cream Cake for desert courtesy of my dad..

Throughout the afternoon and evening, you will find us playing rousing games of Ping Pong and competitive games of darts.  :-)

My brother has a selfie-stick now which makes for a group shot that can hold all of us.  This was last years...

 Being with family is my most favorite thing about Thanksgiving!

I have two  favorite Thanksgiving memories that stand out to me:

  • When my daughter was about 9 years old, the church we were attending had a tradition of holding a Thanksgiving play on Thanksgiving morning.   Talented seamstresses made Pilgrim costumes for the boys and girls.  Gabrielle looked adorable in her little Pilgrim outfit.   The play was very sweet and a wonderful way to begin Thanksgiving Day focused on the Lord.

  • Another special tradition at that church was the distribution of a tiny loaf of bread to each congregant to be eaten at our individual family tables during Thanksgiving dinner,  uniting us with our church family in one thankful heart.

  • Years later, the church we were attending participated in a joint Thanksgiving  Eve service with a church in a neighboring town. 

As you can see, it is the quintessential New England church!  I remember sitting in the old wooden pews, listening to the wind howl outside, seeing through the window the shadows of the bare branches moving around in the darkness, and imagining brothers and sisters in the Lord many Thanksgivings ago, worshipping inside that very space.

One of my favorite paintings happens to be one that depicts the first Thanksgiving...

My favorite book about gratitude is Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts. 

For those who aren't familiar with this book, shares the following introduction...

"In One Thousand Gifts: A Dare  to Live Fully Right Where You Are, Ann strives to find the meaning of life and fully embrace the surprising truth from the final scenes of Jesus’ earthly life.  In the hours before Jesus’ execution, he took bread and gave thanks.  This fresh, heart-wrenching book unveils the long forgotten wonder that through the imitation of Christ’s thankfulness, we too can experience a life of joy.

With startling lyrical power, Voskamp writes the answers to universal questions:

Where is joy in the midst of cruelty and chaos, duties and despair?
How does one slow down enough for the soul and God to live in synch?
How in the world do we learn to find God and live fully?

The laundry keeps piling up, dishes never end, kids fight and people die.  But regardless of circumstances, the dare of the “gift list” shows Voskamp a way to live even through the dullness and hurts of life.  Through the aches and triumphs, she finally sees what she’s been missing, something that so many women can’t seem to find in their everyday lives.  Ideal for personal spiritual growth or Bible study groups, included within One Thousand Gifts are study questions to provoke additional thought and discussion."

It is no exaggeration to say that I have every page dog-eared!  It is a book that would be beneficial to read through every year.

And finally, my absolute favorite Thanksgiving Hymn is...

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

1. Come, ye thankful people, come, 
raise the song of harvest home; 
all is safely gathered in, 
ere the winter storms begin. 
God our Maker doth provide 
for our wants to be supplied; 
come to God's own temple, come, 
raise the song of harvest home. 

2. All the world is God's own field, 
fruit as praise to God we yield; 
wheat and tares together sown 
are to joy or sorrow grown; 
first the blade and then the ear, 
then the full corn shall appear; 
Lord of harvest, grant that we 
wholesome grain and pure may be. 

3. For the Lord our God shall come, 
and shall take the harvest home; 
from the field shall in that day 
all offenses purge away, 
giving angels charge at last 
in the fire the tares to cast; 
but the fruitful ears to store 
in the garner evermore. 

4. Even so, Lord, quickly come, 
bring thy final harvest home; 
gather thou thy people in, 
free from sorrow, free from sin, 
there, forever purified, 
in thy presence to abide; 
come, with all thine angels, come, 
raise the glorious harvest home. 

Henry Alford

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

These are a few of my favorite things about Thanksgiving.  What are some of yours?  :-)

Wishing you all a very blessed Thanksgiving.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another 
in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness 
in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:16-17

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  1. Karen, thank you so much for sharing your Thanksgiving traditions. I love so much this one, "Another special tradition at that church was the distribution of a tiny loaf of bread to each congregant to be eaten at our individual family tables during Thanksgiving dinner, uniting us with our church family in one thankful heart."

    I want my church to do that! It's too late to arrange this year, but I'm definitely going to be sharing with others about this idea and see if we can make it happen next year.

    One tradition at our home is that everyone shares 3 things they are thankful for before we all dive into the dressing - our family favorite dish!

    1. Jerralea, You are very welcome! Yes, that really was such a special tradition. Awe, well I'm glad! I hope you are able to make it work. :-)

      Sounds like a wonderful tradition. Thanks for sharing. :-)


  2. Oh, sweet friend, what a precious post! I can just imagine sitting in that old church and having those very same thoughts! I love Thanksgiving Day, is a precious time. My favorite part of it is the same thing that is my favorite of life, otherwise...being with the ones I love. You and I share the same heart, my friend. You are such a dear blessing to me, and one of the things I thank the Lord for is you and your continual encouragement and friendship. May He bless you even more than usual this Thanksgiving. I am surely praying for you and trusting you are feeling His comfort through the deep trials you are walking through. You will never know what you comments on my blog mean to me. Sending lots of love and hugs your way today!

    1. Hi Cheryl, Indeed, a most blessed way to spend any day, with the ones we love. <3

      Thank you so much! I am so blessed to have you in my life too dear friend. It's amazing how the Lord has used our blogs to connect our hearts. :-)

      I do indeed feel your prayers, and I am so thankful for your intercession.

      Awe, they come from the heart. You are such a special person.

      Sending you much love,

  3. Your celebration sounds wonderful and that cake looks amazing!

  4. Karen, my favorite is Thanksgiving also. Yours sounds wonderful and I hope it's everything as you wish. Be blessed. Visiting from Meg's Tea and Word.

    1. Susan, Thank you so much. It was! I hope you had a blessed Thanksgiving.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. My favorite tradition is making a face on the pumpkin pie. We use whipped cream and chocolate chip to create a smiley face. Over the years, different generations have added "hair", ears, a nose ... lots of fun!

    1. Christa, Thank you so much for sharing this! I LOVE IT!!

      Blessings, :-)

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  7. What a great addition to Literacy Musing Mondays this past week! These are beautiful memories and I'm glad you've shared them with me.

    1. Tami, Thank you so much for your very kind words!



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