It’s just a simple box on the closet shelf of our bedroom, but it holds years of memories.
I first got the idea to incorporate the “Thanksgiving Box” into part of our family holiday tradition when our children were quite young. One year, after our Thanksgiving dinner, I gave each of the children a sheet of paper and a pencil, and I asked them to write down the top five things they were grateful for. This was not a pressured activity to think of the best things, nor was it a competition to see who could come up with the most. It was simply an exercise to write down what God had done for us. Terrie and I wrote our own lists as well. When everyone was finished, we put our lists into the creatively-named “Thanksgiving Box.”
The following year, we repeated the tradition. Only this time, we gave each child their list from the previous year to read before writing a new list. They enjoyed remembering the blessings of the previous year, and their old lists helped to ignite their gratitude for writing a new list.
Over the years, the time we spent with the Thanksgiving Box drew us closer as a family and deepened each of our awareness of God’s blessings.
As all of our children are now grown, the Thanksgiving Box is retired. But it’s not forgotten. I often pull the box off the closet shelf and pull out a few of the early lists my children wrote. It’s refreshing to see how little it took to make them thankful—“Dad, Mom, a Christian school, turkey, friends…”—blessings that we daily take for granted. Reading their lists reminds me anew of how much God has done for me. Invariably, I find myself thanking God for His daily blessings in my own life.
Perhaps your family would find a Thanksgiving Box helpful. Or perhaps, you simply need to take a moment to reminisce over God’s great blessings in your life. Don’t let this Thanksgiving pass without specifically thanking God for His goodness.