Gratitude, Mothering, Relationship, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Traditions Five Kernels of Corn

Thanksgiving Traditions: Five Kernels of Corn

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Some of my favorite girlhood memories revolve around holidays like Thanksgiving. My mom always woke well before the sun on Thanksgiving morning. She prepared the turkey and slid it into the oven to slow cook all day long. By 2:00 in the afternoon, the aroma of the roasting bird made my mouth water! My parents always invited friends and family to join us around our makeshift table. Food and laughter were plentiful.

Those memories will always stay with me.

Now that I’m a mother, I want holidays to be memorable and meaningful for our children. We usually spend Thanksgiving evening with extended family. But, we keep the mornings for the four of us.

We make our once-a-year breakfast pizza. Pretty plates and sparkling glasses decorate the table for our morning meal. Laughter circles our table as we eat.

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Early in our marriage, I learned of a tradition from Barbara Rainey, from the Family Life Today radio broadcast. It’s one we’ve modified to fit our family.

When I set the table on Thanksgiving morning, I place five kernels of popcorn at each place. Those five kernels remind us of how much the pilgrims got to eat each day during one of their first winters in this new land.

Five kernels of corn.

After we thank God for our food, we read the entries from past years in our Thanksgiving Journal. Through the course of our breakfast, we go around the table,  share what we are thankful for from the current year and add it to the journal. As we share one thing we’re thankful for, we move a kernel of corn to the middle of the table.

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The inaugural year for this tradition was 2007. One boy was thankful for “the clouds that gave rain and flowers that got drinks,” among other things. The other boy was thankful for dinosaurs, because they ate bugs. Yes, I hid a smile at that one.

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As they have matured, so have their “thankful” entries. Last year, one son was thankful for “the Bible, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit,” and also for “adventure, because it’s fun.” The other son included being “thankful for Jesus that He came and died for my sins.” As well as being “thankful that God made me come into this world so that I may one day live with Jesus in heaven.”

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This may be a small way of teaching our children gratitude, but we hope and pray that it will nurture thankfulness in their hearts.

I know it has in mine.

What about you? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? How have you fostered a spirit of gratitude?

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9 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Traditions: Five Kernels of Corn”

  1. I love this! I’ve tried to include five kernels of corn on the empty plates as part of our plate setting every year to remember how God kept the pilgrims alive, and we always go around the table to say what we are thankful for, but I never thought about combining the two, or keeping a Thanksgiving Journal! This is a wonderful idea!

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    1. Thanks, Joy. It’s fun to hear the boys’ comments as they hear what they wrote when they were younger. And, it’s always such a great reminder of all God’s given us. 🙂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  2. Not really a tradition – but the most moving Thanksgiving I had was twenty years ago. I had a Pit Bull with a brain tumor, and he;d just gone through radiation and chemotherapy, after surgery that made his head look like a football, with stitches for laces.

    On Thanksgiving Day he felt awful, and crawled into my lap. He stayed there for the whole day, while I read “The Left Hand of God”.

    I bought him about a year with the treatment. I hope it was worth it to him. It was tome, on that day.

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  3. Jeannie, beautiful. Considering this is my first Thanksgiving without my grandmother, I have to say my favorite Thanksgiving memories would include anything about my grandparents … my grandmother saying, “Now, this won’t taste any good” … and my grandfather trying to push more food your way! I smile.

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    1. That’s the kinds of “first” that is difficult to “celebrate.” I hope the memories ease over the pain of missing her this year, Shelli. It sounds like you have great memories with your grandparents. That’s truly a blessing.
      Have a great Thanksgiving!

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  4. This is going to be a different year for us. We’ll spend it with family, but I have no children waking up under my roof.
    I decided to bake a turkey breast for my husband and me, and we’ll have our own little Thanksgiving celebration tonight. Then tomorrow we’ll visit with both families.
    Now you’ve got me curious about a Thanksgiving morning pizza.
    Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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    1. Jackie, I know those years of quiet Thanksgiving mornings will be different. It sounds like you and your husband are making some new traditions this year. I hope your Thanksgiving-Eve dinner for two is special, and that your family time will be good as well.

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