Being Thankful – The True Thanksgiving

Being Thankful – The True Thanksgiving November 18, 2023

Outline of a hand traced on white paper, with the addition of legs, beak, and waddle to turn it into a turkey.
Photo and Art By Author

Thanksgiving is next week and while this has become a hotly contested holiday, I think there is still great value to be had. 


I’m not talking about the Thanksgiving, which is filled with traditions of stuffing ourselves silly, family drama, and football (I know, I know, please don’t hate me). I’m referring to the actual words themselves. 


Thanks Giving


Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

and his wonderful deeds for mankind (Psalm 107:8 NIV)


Many around this time of year become tunnel visioned, focusing, and consequently losing any capacity for joy, on the long list of house cleaning chores, decorating, shopping, cooking food, and worrying over having to see family members they’d rather not. 


Instead, let’s take this time captive, to focus on reflection, specifically on the goodness of God, the blessings we have in Him.

  • His grace and mercy
  • The gift of Jesus Christ! 
  • Every breath 
  • Each new day 
  • And so much more (hint … everything!)


We may not have abundant tables, Martha Stewart worthy centerpieces, or the right type of cranberry sauce (am I right Grandma?), but we can all bring gratitude to the party, whether it’s with a hundred others, or only a handful. 


A few years ago, I started a tradition that I want to share. I pray it encourages all of you!


Thanks-Giving Turkey Hands


Have everyone sit down with a journal, or just a piece of paper will do, and reflect on the year up to that moment silently. This is best done before food while the brain isn’t gravy-fogged.


Next, have everyone trace their fingers into a hand-turkey – circa elementary school (see the title image – and forgive the lack of artistic skill, drawing was not one of my gifts). 


Then let them go wild, filling the fingers and palm space with as many blessings as they can think of and/or fit. Kudos if they have to do both a left and right hand turkey! 


Children who cannot write yet, can color theirs while everyone takes turns going around the table reading them out loud – at least one or two per person. 


Let the warmth of those moments soak in. Sitting among the spoken thankfulness of friends and family is truly the greatest blessing. 


Close in prayer, thanking God for his faithfulness in the little and the large.


It’s okay to enjoy your turkey, or turkey substitute my vegan and veg friends, but remember we have so much more than food and family to be thankful for. 


This Thanksgiving, and through this holiday season, my prayer for each and every one of you is to reflect Christ to everyone you meet. 


The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

    slow to anger, abounding in love. (Psalm 103:8 NIV)


Feel free to pass the hand turkey exercise to others and if you post on Instagram, please tag me (@of.cabbages.and.carrots). I would be so delighted to see your praises and share in thanking God for them!


God bless you!

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