Here we are. It’s the week of Thanksgiving. For women, this holiday can be both fun and overwhelming—something you both anticipate and dread. You’re excited at the prospect of a wonderful family memory, a delicious meal complete with pumpkin pie, a relaxing nap after turkey dinner, and going ‘round the table sharing grateful hearts. But all the cooking that leads up to that idyllic turkey-carving-moment can be daunting. And then there’s cleanup—speaking of which, when will they create that china-safe dishwasher? In her book, Treasuring God in Our Traditions Noel Piper helps us to step back and view this holiday, and all family traditions, from a wider perspective: their role in teaching our children about God. Whether or not we have children, I think Noel’s thoughts should provoke us all. She writes:
“You can’t bequeath God to your children. You can leave them the fur coat from your mother, the forested acres from your father, the carved cane from your Uncle Claude, and the clock from your grandmother, but they can’t inherit God from you. God can only be inherited from God…We only become God’s children through our faith, not through our parent’s faith…Now although we can’t bequeath God to our children, we can help them know him and understand him in ways that prepare them to believe in his name. ‘Everyday’ and ‘especially’ traditions in a family are an important part of that teaching, of picturing who God is and what he’s done in our home and in the world. Traditions are a vital way of displaying our greatest treasure, of showing what—Who—is most important to us.”
Traditions are one way we can show that God is most important to us. Thanksgiving is a wonderful reminder of the faithfulness and provision of God. It’s also a way to promote family unity and closeness, to have fun and enjoy one another’s company for the glory of God. It’s a chance to pause and consider Christ, who is our joy.