Friday, February 01, 2013

Home for the Holidays: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And this Thanksgiving was extra special because it was our very first year to celebrate in our own home! When living in the U.S., we typically traveled to visit family over the Thanksgiving holiday. The year we lived in Oregon, we hosted Thanksgiving dinner for both sides of our family, but because our group was so large, we had it in the fellowship hall of the Eastside Church of Christ. And when we lived overseas, Thanksgiving was usually a big potluck that we celebrated with other Americans. I have such fond memories of our first 3 Thanksgivings as a married couple, in Mito, Japan -- Americans and English-speakers packing into the Mito Church along with our favorite holiday dishes and spending the whole day eating, watching movies, scrapbooking, playing games, and just hanging out. And while I love large gatherings, I really enjoyed the intimacy of being able to host a smaller group in our home this year.

We invited Josh and Julie and Kent and Sharla (and their families of course!) to join us for Thanksgiving this year, and at the last minute, our party swelled to include a fellow missionary from Cuenca who was in town to pick up some visitors later that day, and an American pilot who just happened to be in Quito over Thanksgiving and didn't want to spend the day alone in his hotel room. It was a lovely day, filled with fellowship and good conversation, delicious food, and a Thanksgiving devotional. I ended the day exhausted but with a full belly and a full heart.

A few pictures:

No Thanksgiving is complete without football!
The kids worked busily on their Thanksgiving placemat activity sheets.
The Thanksgiving table. There was so much good food that we overflowed to the piano bench and the card table! And I think there were 7 different kinds of pie for dessert!
A time of singing and prayer after the meal.
Our Thanksgiving Tree. Everyone who came was required to place at least one leaf on the tree -- or they didn't get any pie (for real!).
The leaves had verses of Scripture on one side, with the other side blank to write something you were thankful for. Free printable here. This is the third year we have done a Thanksgiving tree and it is such a meaningful tradition. Our tree stays up during the entire month of December, to remind us of all we have to be thankful for.