A CAN OF THANKSGIVINGS
Don’t you love this time of year? For many of us in our rush, time-driven world, we can lose the appreciation of the wonderful days called Thanksgiving and Christmas. I will be sharing in forthcoming remembrances holiday experiences of my family and myself.
Early on in our marriage, I wanted to create good memories for my family. My husband already experienced many happy ones, but I had to start from scratch. I remember my Dad fixing a turkey and making a whole turkey baking pan full of dressing. He put eggs, celery, poultry seasoning and anything else to his liking in it. It tasted so good. I always loved the crusty part of the dressing in the bottom of the pan. This was a good memory of my childhood so it stood out to me.
I wanted to give memories to my children and always baked turkey, dressing (never could make it as good as Dad’s), green bean casserole, squash casserole, rolls, fruit salad and either made or bought pies (pumpkin for kids and pecan for hubby). I tried to impress upon the children our blessings and how Jesus wants us to be thankful.
As the years went by I thought, I need to make more of an impression for my now older children to understand how important it is to recognize our blessings and thank Jesus for them. So, one day as I was making coffee for Wilton, my husband, I looked at the empty can and thought, what we need to do is write the things we are thankful for throughout the year and put our notes in a can like this. Then we can read them out loud every Thanksgiving and Christmas. What better month than the months we are to remember our blessings and Jesus?
So, I started the month of June telling everyone to start writing the things for which they are thankful and putting them in the can. As each month went by, I reminded them to put answered prayer or any of the many things they hoped would happen in the Thanksgiving can. They heard me say many times, “Don’t forget to put ‘that’ in the can, so we will remember to read it in November and Christmas!”
After many of our prayers, I reminded my husband, “Let’s put our answer in the can, so we won’t forget how Jesus came through for us again.” Many times I would stop what I was doing and write down things like, “Thank you, Father, we were able to get the car at a reduced price. Thank you for the beautiful flowers in the neighborhood today. Thank you, Father, for my husband and children who I love with all my heart.”
The Thanksgiving notes continued over the years as the children grew. They included thanksgiving for a prom dress, part-time jobs, and even answers to prayer for a Hawaii vacation for hubby and myself. One year, when Thanksgiving rolled around, I noticed Bradley, my son, putting one note after another in the can. I thought, that’s nice, Brad is wanting to thank the Lord for so many blessings today. Upon further investigation, I discovered he was trying to make up for lost time. He hadn’t been putting notes in the can over the year and knew he had to show something!
All the notes were treasures. Even the hurried ones written at the last minute, were a source of enjoyment over the years. We continued the tradition until the kids left home to begin their own traditions with their families. I still have the old, now tarnished, coffee can with all of our notes in them and I bring it out when we are all together at Thanksgiving and Christmas and ask for more thankful times to be included. We laugh and say, “Remember when that happened!”
Since we try to visit our family in Colorado in November guess what happened last Thanksgiving. I found an empty can and said to the grandchildren, “I want everyone to write down their thanksgivings and put them in this can. We will all read them this year! I want you to continue writing them all year and every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we will read them too!” So we read them last year as we sat around the kitchen table. The first one I read from my twelve-year-old grandson said, “I’m thankful for everything!” His mother with a smile said, “Buddy, be more specific. Like what things?” He said smiling, ”Everything.”
He then explained ‘everything’ in detail. He said, “Glad we are a family and all the fun things I have done this year.” We all agreed everything was most assuredly appropriate. I thought later that “I’m thankful for everything” is one of the best things we can say to Jesus. His scripture states in 1Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (KJV).
I tell you about A Can of Thanksgivings so perhaps you would like to make it part of your yearly traditions. You can be as creative as you want to store the notes. When I did it, being my usual busy day, I proceeded to hurriedly remove the paper from the coffee can and tore a piece of masking tape and taped it to the red can lid with the inscription “Thankful Notes Unto Father.” It didn’t look very artful but was effective.
Each year I thought, I need to spruce up the thanksgiving can, but never did. So today, it reflects a tarnished can with a hurriedly printed message on the red, plastic lid. Even though it may not win a prize for creativity, it is endearing with its contents. Within the can are treasured memories to the Lord. I don’t think He minds the can being so plain. He received pleasure from the messages from the hearts of His children.
You can take a long time or do it quickly as I did. But they will be delightful memories to share for years from generation to generation and Jesus will be glorified!
Until next time,
Frieda Young Baird
Featured Image By Debby Hudson