Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Food, food and more food! What’s not to love? On this holiday, the meal certainly takes more of a center stage than on most other holidays. Much like presents and Santa are to Christmas, though, food is to Thanksgiving.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the mouthwatering dishes. I dream about the aromas, plan and prep food well ahead of time, cook my little heart out and savor each and every delectable taste. But just as Jesus sometimes get lost in the clutter of Christmas, giving thanks can get lost in the clutter of Thanksgiving.
A few years ago, a friend gave our family a unique present. It was a fish. Not just any old fish, though, a handmade, wooden fish with fluted sides. It was a work of art and extraordinary craftsmanship, which also now represents a sentimental time of connection for our family.
Dan, an expert trained wood toy maker and crafter of the fish, calls them ‘Thankful Fish’. As the story goes, they are rooted deep in Italian tradition and passed around over huge feasts, with each person taking a turn to share what they are thankful for. I’m not sure how this custom got started, or even how much of the story is truth or tale, but to our family, it’s doesn’t matter.
A few years back, after receiving our first fish, we decided to make the ‘Thankful Fish’ a Thanksgiving tradition. Each year, after enjoying a delicious feast, we all gather together. One by one, we pass the fish around, each person taking a turn sharing what means most to their heart; what they are most grateful for. There are often laughs, sometimes tears and even thoughtful (and occasionally awkward) pauses, but it’s always special.
For a brief moment in time, we’re all on the same page. We give each other our undivided attention. Phones and TV’s are off. No one interrupts or makes fun. Each person feels completely free to share from the depths of their soul. Some are shy and embarrassed, others are sensitive and emotional, while others, brimming over with efficiency, simply get straight to the point. But everyone shares… and shares honestly. It’s amazing what you learn about someone when they are transparent and vulnerable. This glimpse can cultivate an entirely new perspective or respect. It will definitely draw you closer.
Lindon & I encourage you to take time this Thanksgiving to gather your family and share all that you are grateful for. If you don’t have a ‘Thankful Fish’, no worries! Pass around a Thanksgiving or family memento. Use a small turkey figurine. Are you all huge sports fans? Pass around a football! Anything will do, but don’t overlook the importance of having something to pass each year. It invites the attention of all those circled around to the one person whose turn it is to share. It also signals to the speaker that it’s their shining moment in time to express their feelings to those who matter most.
Simple yet profound, engage your family in this new tradition and create memories which will last a lifetime.
Do you have a special Thanksgiving tradition of thankfulness? If so, please comment below and share the joy of this very special holiday time. Blessings to you!Please sign up for our weekly blog posts by filling in the box to the right. We’d love to have you on board!