The holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are an excellent time to help your family grow in Christ. One resource that I have found particularly helpful is Barbara Rainey’s book, Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember. Barbara Rainey relates a little bit of her story of how she and her husband Dennis began a couple traditions at Thanksgiving:
I’ve heard many people say that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday. Is that surprising? Though it’s a holiday sandwiched between the increasingly popular Halloween and the overwhelmingly merchandised Christmas, Thanksgiving remains the holiday of “coming home.” It’s a holiday of rest—in stark contrast to the frenzy of obligation and spending that threatens to destroy the essence of Christmas.
Our national observance of Thanksgiving is unique. It is both distinctly Christian and exclusively American, a holiday for celebrating faith, family, and freedom.
Having majored in history in college, I’ve been concerned for years that “we the people” don’t know and understand what Abraham Lincoln referred to when he began his famous Gettysburg Address with the statement, “Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty … ” I was determined that my children would hear the stories of the courageous men, women, and children who lived honorably and, through faith in God, made enormous sacrifices to secure freedom for us all.
I wanted them to understand God’s sovereignty at work in the lives of our forefathers and His providential direction of their circumstances. For the Rainey family, Thanksgiving was not going to be just eating, hours of TV, naps, and leftover turkey sandwiches—followed by a stress-filled Friday of frantic Christmas shopping at the mall.
With my husband’s help I initiated some new traditions into our Thanksgiving Day. The two more important ones were the reading of stories about the Pilgrims’ journey of faith from England to the shores of Cape Cod and the recording and sharing of our family’s personal blessings. As believers in Christ, we have so much to be thankful for; and as Americans, God has abundantly blessed our nation.