Planning A Christ-Centered Thanksgiving



Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays! It’s one of the least commercialized and mangled holidays of our culture. Even the name points people toward the God who gives good gifts.

It’s fascinating talking about Thanksgiving with our children. The Pilgrims were really people a lot like us: they were principled Christians who were very concerned about the upbringing of their children. They left England because they were being persecuted for their faith, then left the Netherlands, where they had religious freedom, because they were losing their childrens’ hearts in that culture. We love to read our children excerpts from their journals and letters and help them understand the sacrifices our forefathers made to settle this land. The first Thanksgiving feast was the celebration of the end of a time of great suffering, the Dying Time, during which half the community perished. How they must have rejoiced to see God’s provision come in!

We also love preparing our hearts to be thankful. We sing Thanksgiving songs, talk about what we have to be grateful about, and sometimes even do a Thanksgiving tree or other physical reminder of God’s gifts. Thanksgiving reminds even the calloused to remember the God who made us and takes care of us.

This gives you a tremendous opportunity to be a testimony to your extended family! By introducing Christ-centered traditions and focusing on the meaning of the holiday, you can witness to your family in a very low key, winsome way and hosting the celebration at your house allows you to set the tone in a way you just can’t at someone else’s house.

You’re probably thinking that cooking for Thanksgiving is a tremendous lot of work, but it is so worth it when you realize the opportunity you have to glorify the Lord in it! That hard work may be the factor that makes older relatives willing to pass on the baton, too.

Be sure to ask other family members to help, though, not just to lessen your own burden, but to make everyone feel appreciated and to allow them to contribute, as well. “Aunt Beth, could you make the seven layer salad? No one does it like you do!”

We’ve found that as we’ve introduced some new/old traditions to our Feast, that actually our extended family has welcomed and enjoyed them. We’ll never forget a dear relative filming our son reciting “Five Kernels of Corn” so that he could take it back to show his friends in China!

What a great opportunity to help everyone remember what Thanksgiving is all about!

Yours in the battle,
Hal & Melanie

(This article originally appeared in The Homeschool Minute.)

For practical help preparing your family for Thanksgiving, and putting on a Christ-centered (and wonderfully delicious!) Thanksgiving celebration, get our downloadable book, We Gather Together: Sanity and Celebration at Thanksgiving, for only $5! Click here!

Recently we talked about preparing for a Christ-centered Thanksgiving on our weekly podcast. Click here to listen in!