The Joseph Group

Thanksgiving with a Child’s Heart

November 22, 2016

As we celebrate a time to count our blessings and shift our hearts to the gifts and graces that flow into our lives every day, we share with you a story of one family’s Thanksgiving ritual; the gratitude tree. May it remind and encourage us all to take time during this busy season to express all that we have to be thankful for in our lives today and every day thereafter.

One son cuts a trunk and limbs from brown poster board. Another tacks it to the dining room door with double-sided tape. Another cuts leaves, colorful and maple-shaped, from construction paper.

Each night, before dinner, we share what we’re thankful for. But when we sit to give thanks, I’m distracted. I’m anxious because we have swimming and Scouts and music contest practice after supper. The night is full and I have a hundred things to do.

“I’m thankful for family,” eight-year-old Isaiah says. “For soup. For a bike ride. That Nana called. For my friend.”

We go around the table. After each person speaks, he writes his thanksgiving on a leaf with a pen. It takes a while. But as I listen, I forget about the evening and the commitments and our busy way of life.

I’m blessed by the simplicity of children.

Listening, I become tender for hearts that are sensitive to the mundane. And I become aware and thankful for the things that in my grown-up life I take for granted. I begin to have sight and feeling for the blessings that I miss when I’m buried under busyness and I don’t take the time to live. To feel. To see.

Thank you for the kind man in the grocery store.

Thank you for my dog Rugby’s kisses.

Thank you for the blankets on my bed.

Thank you for the way the tree in our yard is turning gold.

Thank you for the sound of the wind.

The idea is to share one thing. One gratitude. But as the boys share, the top comes off and thankfulness flows free. They write small to fit their gratitude on cut-out leaves.

When it’s my turn, it’s easy to say that I’m thankful for the hearts of children.
The Lord tells us that at one time or another, we all need to come to Him as a little child. With spirits that are open. Humble. Hearts that are seeing and simple in trust.I think the same can be true of gratitude.

Blessings to you during this season of harvest and abundance, joy and thanksgiving.