November 21 - 27, 2005


This Thanksgiving, practice giving thanks

Visit just about any other country on the planet and one truth will surely jump out at you: Americans have SO MUCH to be thankful for.

So how do we observe a day to give thanks for all we have? Incredibly, it's by sitting down at a big dinner and having even more than usual.

More and more people note this stark irony and are finding creative alternatives, such as helping serve Thanksgiving dinner in a soup kitchen, or donating the cost of a big dinner to charity, but most of us will embrace the whole shebang -- gather with family and enjoy plenty of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, green beans and pie a la mode.

I know I will. Especially the pie a la mode.

But rather than just gobble down the dinner in 30 minutes, thereby making the meal just another exercise in thoughtless consumption, why not make the meal a real celebration of plenty. Here are some ideas:

--Before saying grace (you do say grace, right?) ask each person to identify one thing for which he or she is thankful this year.
--Decide ahead of time to eat slowly and deliberately.
--Put down your fork in between bites of food. Pick it up only when you have chewed and swallowed what is in your mouth.
--When chewing your food, don't look at your plate, look at the people at the table with you. Be thankful for company.
--Remind others (and  yourself) to savor each bite. Contemplate how you enjoy the flavors and textures of the food. Be thankful for taste buds and the sense of smell.
--Talk about where your food comes from, how it is grown (or raised) and how it comes to your table. Be thankful for farmers, truckers and grocers.
--Talk about how the food is prepared. Be thankful for cooks (and tell them so!).
--Think about how many calories you are consuming. Be thankful for plenty.
--After you have consumed the meal, linger at the table and talk. Be thankful for friends, family and love.
--Just as you started the dinner with a prayer, end with a prayer, thanking God for all God gives us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster

New This Week:

Thanksgiving resources galore
Since gratitude is an essential component of stewardship, this week is important. To help make Thursday more than turkey and football, our friends at the United Methodist Church have compiled an amazing assortment of resources -- liturgies, creative ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving in home and church, essays, inspiration. Just about anything you could imagine. Click here for Thanksgiving resources, from the UMC's General Board of Discipleship.

Thanks for volunteers who serve without strings
"As Christians and volunteers, we often show up and announce what we are willing to do in a situation that calls for our help.  And if we are asked to volunteer we have a preconceived idea of what we are willing to do. But the Lord's work continues to be done, and done more effectively if we are willing to look for the need and plug ourselves in."  Click here for The Rev. Dana Reardon's weekly stewardship column.

 Especially for parents!
13 creative ways to encourage gratefulness this Thanksgiving
Children need to be taught gratitude -- just like adults! Here are a baker's dozen of fun ideas for helping the people of your family to learn about gratitude this Thanksgiving. Click here for "13 Creative ways," from Christian Parenting Today magazine.
(Check out other Thanksgiving resources from Christianity Today: Click here.)

 Talking turkey about Thanksgiving
Subtitled, "We need a gratitude adjustment," this article calls on our culture to get serious about giving thanks: "There's a problem with Thanksgiving. Celebrating an 'official' day compartmentalizes gratitude. The truth is that gratitude is the right attitude every day." Click here for "Talking turkey," from  The Lutheran magazine. This week's Treasure Chest offering.