The busiest season of the year is upon us. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year are all right around the corner.
How do you keep from drowning in the commercialism, busyness, and pulls on your time?
For our family it is a matter of reconnecting with our roots and remembering cherished family traditions.
Our Blessing Jar is a family tradition that goes back to 1999. At that time we only had two children and couldn’t possibly have even imagined the changes the next few years would bring, with both joys and trials. Our family expanded in 2000 to include three adopted children as well.
Our most cherished family tradition occurs on Thanksgiving Day. We have lunch at our house for our family (our kids, my niece, and family.) Late afternoon then finds our immediate family meandering up the street to Wagoner’s Tree lot, where we have picked out our tree every year for more than fifteen years.
We come home, drag the tree in the house, and start decorating.
Point of Grace Christmas CD must be playing, and Russian tea must be served.
It truly is the highlight of our year, a tradition we hold to tightly and joyfully.
There is much jostling and joking as we decorate the tree. Specific rituals have to be followed and mom has to take pictures.
Once the tree is decorated we gather around our table and take out our blessing jar. This special little jar sits on our kitchen table year round, reminding us to take time to appreciate God’s blessings, both small and large.
No special paper needed. Any scrap will do! We then go around the table and one by one open the slips of paper, seeing the blessings of our lives laid before us.
As we read from the past year we are always reminded of the ways God has taken the good and bad times and turned them into family memories, a tangible picture of God’s love for us.
I cannot begin to tell you how we look forward to this time. As our family ages and changes we welcome new members and treasure those to come in future years.
Tips for instilling gratitude in your children:
- Start young. Even small children can be taught to say thank you to God through their prayers, songs and words.
- Reinforce. Point out to your children the many ways you are thankful to God for His provision, His love and your family.
- Model a thankful heart. Tell your children and spouse thank you for the gift of their lives each day.
- Encourage your children to say thank you and “catch” each other doing acts of service.
- As the children get older, have them look up scriptures on thanksgiving and write the verses out. Use them in art projects or special presents for friends and family members.