The word “tradition” is not found in the Old Testament but God does give instructions for remembering works that God has done through practices that are called traditions. Exodus 12:42 is speaking about the Passover and says “Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.”
Here’s how we are to practice traditions:
1. Use them to remember what the Lord has done for us – “Because the Lord kept vigil“.
2. Use them “to honor the Lord“.
3. Teach them to your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren so they too will honor the Lord – “for the generations to come”.
Noel Piper says “A tradition is a planned habit with significance.”
Do you need an idea for a tradition to start? Here’s a few ideas:
1. I bought a notebook that has fall colors on the cover last year and began a “Thanksgiving Journal”. Each family member wrote a paragraph in the journal of things we were thankful for. Already just one year later I delighted in reading about the kids favorite toys, friends, teachers and trips! I know that in 20 years this journal will be priceless!
2. This year we are reading The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein. After we read it, all the guests in our house for dinner (22) will be asked to write on a paper leaf one thing they have been given this year that they are thankful for. Then we will take turns sticking our leaves to a tree trunk…and we will have created our own Thanksgiving Giving Tree!
3. My friend Karen shared her tradition: “This isn’t a family one (I’m single), nor is it especially meaningful, but it’s fun. Each year I have my preschool students tell me how they would cook Thanksgiving dinner. (The hardest part is not chuckling as they very seriously tell me just how to make each thing). I put them all together in a little “cookbook” to give to their families. The parents always enjoy reading their children’s creativity! My extended family loves to read them every year, too, so I make sure that I always bring a copy of the book to Thanksgiving dinner.”
4. My friend Kelly shared her tradition: “We are doing something new this year. I’m having the kids take their little kiddie cameras and take pictures of things they are thankful for (before Thanksgiving). Then I’m going to print them out and on Thanksgiving (after dinner when we are just hanging out with the family), they can make a “thankfulness collage” with the print out pictures! It will keep them busy and will also keep their minds and hearts in the right place! They are already chomping at the bit to take pictures!”
5. A Women Living Well reader named Brooke wrote “I just received the book “Growing Together in Gratitude” by Barbara Rainey. It is a book with stories of faith for families. I heard about it on the radio through Family Life. We are reading one story as a family every week and then we share what we are thankful for that week.”
6. And finally, make a turkey body out of construction paper. Give each person in the family a construction paper feather and have them write on it one thing they are thankful for. Then stick all the feathers on for all to see and rejoice in!
I hope this stirs in your heart a desire to make Thanksgiving meaningful for your family. If you have a family tradition you’d like to share please share it in the comment section!
Walk with the King!