30 Days-Thanksgiving Changes Our Perspective On Christmas

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Yesterday I began a series about Thanksgiving, Advent & Christmas, showing how they should be connected.  The Thanksgiving holiday sets up Advent & Christmas.  One way we can refocus our family’s Christmas season is to focus on being thankful.  Being thankful focuses on God’s gifts to me, instead of what I want.

What else will my thankful list do?

My thankful list takes my eyes off the tribulations & stressful situations of Christmas.  Let’s take a look into history and see how thanksgiving can help us overcome stressful situations

Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran pastor during the Thirty Years War.  During the height of the war in 1637, Rinkart performed 50 funerals a day and as many as 4000 that year, including his wife.  Not much on the outside to be thankful.

However, it was at this time that Rinkart wrote the hymn, “Now Thank We All Our God” with the following words:

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;
And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him Who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;
The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

How can a man in the midst of overcrowding, deadly pestilence & famine, pen those words?

Rinkart had the right perspective on life.  His focus was wholly on God Almighty.  He wasn’t looking at the tribulation here on earth but on the eternal reward, the love of His Savior.

Christmas is often a trying season for many.

  • You may be stressing over your job and making ends meet each month.
  • You may be agonizing over finding a little extra money to buy a special gift for your kids.
  • You may be grieving over your marriage.
  • You may be burdened over your kids’ walk  with the Lord.
  • You may be worrying over “keeping up” with the other homeschoolers in your area.

So many different areas of your life can take your focus away from Advent and your preparation for Christmas.  My suggestion to you is to change your perspective to one of thanksgiving.  As you read I Thessalonians 5, we are reminded that thanksgiving is prefaced by rejoicing always.

Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18

When you rejoice in the Lord, you choose to change your perspective from worry to rejoicing.  The natural result is thanksgiving.  As you give thanks each & every day of Advent, your perspective will become more Christlike.

In closing, I don’t want you to think I am belittling your worries or tribulations, especially during what can be an extremely stressful time: Christmas.  Christ says “in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but  be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)  Christ recognizes the fact that you are going through trials while you walk on this earth.  However, you can rejoice in your trials because Jesus Christ has overcome each & every one of those trials…He has overcome the world.

If Martin Rinkart can give thanks to God, in the midst of performing 50 funerals a day, surely you & I can give thanks in the midst of our trials.  Thanksgiving will truly change your perspective during Advent and prepare your heart for the grand celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth in a few weeks.

What are you thankful for?  Add 1 more item to your thankful list today.
I am thankful for a warm, beautiful home.  It may not be as big & gorgeous as those on pinterest or in the magazines, but it is our home that I love & can make “warm & cozy” for those who enter each day.

What else will my thankful list do?

(More in tomorrow’s post)

This post was inspired by Brian Fisher’s sermon on November 27, 2011

http://www2.grace-bible.org/downloads/sermons/sermons.asp

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© Kerry Beck, 2011
You have permission to reprint this article, as long as you don’t make any changes and include the bio below.
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Kerry Beck wants to give you a free Advent Calendar Countdown to use in your Christmas & Advent celebration this year. You can also get a free webinar, “6 Clues to Put Christ Back in Christmas” at http://budurl.com/tspk

30 Days of Thanks – 1st Day of Advent Starts with Thanksgiving

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Today is the 1st Sunday of Advent.

What are you doing to prepare for Christmas through this Advent season?

In our family, we read a special set of Scriptures throughout Advent, to refocus our attention on Christ during the holiday season.  This year, I’d like to try something new…connecting Thanksgiving to Advent & Christmas.

For most of us, Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is upon us.  Today I was struck by the idea that Thanksgiving should really be our preparation for Christmas.  Let me explain.

Many of us go around the table saying what we are thankful for this year as we gather together.  In our family, my mom added a twist to this tradition.  She had each person write on a paper feather what they are thankful for.  At the bottom of the feather, we put our initials.  Then, we inserted the feather into the pinecone turkey so our initials did not show.

After dinner, each person chose a feather. We took turns reading the feather and guessing who wrote it.  At first, I thought it might be a bit corny.  In the end, we had a great time reading, guessing & laughing.  Overall, it was a fun way to give thanks to God for what He has given us.

This year, I don’t want to stop at Thanksgiving.  Our “thanksgiving season” should continue into Christmas as we look to Christ and his birth.  Personally, I am going to keep a list of “things I am thankful for”.  We did this as a family about 7 years ago.

My list begins here:  “I am thankful for:”

  • my wonderful, patient and loving husband
  • my children whom I admire
  • my parents who raised me to follow God forever

 

This year, I plan to add one item to my list every day throughout Advent.  I will always tell God “thank you“.  Sometimes, I will call or write a note telling others “thank you.”  I believe that keeping this “thankful list” will keep me focused on God’s gifts to me, instead of the busy-ness of the Christmas season.

I did not include this idea in my  Advent Calendar Countdown  but plan to send this idea to everyone who is getting my free Advent Calendar Countdown.  I think it can be so helpful to our kids as they refocus on thanks-giving and move away from getting.

What else will my thankful list do?

(Tomorrow, I’ll continue other reasons for keeping a thankful list, especially when your life appears to have NOTHING going for you.)

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© Kerry Beck, 2011
You have permission to reprint this article, as long as you don’t make any changes and include the bio below.
—————————————-
Kerry Beck wants to give you a free Advent Calendar Countdown to use in your Christmas & Advent celebration this year. You can also get a free webinar, “6 Clues to Put Christ Back in Christmas” at http://budurl.com/tspk

30 Days – Mile High Apple Pie

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This is my first pictorial tutorial on my blog.  I’ve made the Mile High Apple Pie for the past 6 or so years. I didn’t plan to make it this year, but my dad said, “You’re going to bring your apple pie, aren’t you Kerry?”  How could I turn down my Dad.

Start with 24 apples and 2 pie crusts (I bought my pie crusts, but my daughter made hers)

Get 3 bowls – 1 for stacking apples, 1 for cinnamon sugar, 1 for strudel mix.

Cinnamon sugar  is 3/4 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbsp cinnamon

Strudel is 1/2 cup melted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Stir in 1 cup flour, 2 Tbsp cinnamon, 1 Tbsp nutmeg

Peel your apples (my peeler doesn’t work on my slicer).

Slice your apples

Cut slices in half.

Separate apple slices and cover with cinnamon sugar.

Layer apples in your extra bowl.  Press down as you go.

Sprinkle strudel on top of apples after 3-4 layer http://genericoitalia.it/.

Layer apples in crust that is laid in pie pan.

After several layers, sprinkle strudel over apples.

Set pie pan next to bowl full of apple slices. Put your hand on top of the apples in the bowl

Flip bowl on to pie crust.

Remove bowl

Lay 2nd pie crust over apples and press pie crust edges together to seal.  Cut small slits on the side towards the top.  Do not cut slits on the very top or crust will open up.

Cook on cookie sheet because some of the juices will overflow.

You can top with caramel sauce and chopped pecans, but I was too lazy this year.

Pull out a slice.

Enjoy a mile-high slice of apple pie. Add ice cream if you like. Yummy for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any time of year.

More Thanksgiving Printables for Today!

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I found this cool site that has some great printables to give your kids something to do while the parents linger at the table.  Print out a few right now…before you start cooking…again!

from http://grinandbakeit.com/
Or check out this site:  http://familyfun.go.com/thanksgiving/thanksgiving-printables/

Happy Thanksgiving

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As Thanksgiving is here, I am thankful for so many things. Of course, my family is at the top of the list. As our children grow & mature into young adults, they are such a blessing to Steve & me. Many people believe I am a little strange.  My middle daughter, Gentry, calls me the “family Nazi”.  She knows how much I want to keep our family together as the kids get older.  It is much harder now because they are becoming more independent.  I am still thankful for the few dinners each week we share.

Although I am truly thankful for my family, I am even more grateful for my relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. This holiday season I am reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for me. Since I am a sinner, I deserve the punishment for my sin (which is spiritual death-separation from God). Jesus took my punishment so I could live instead. He died on the cross, suffering for my sin. For this sacrificial act, I am overwhelmed with joy and yet realize the awesome responsibility to my Maker. I have been bought with a price and therefore owe Him my total devotion.

What are you thankful for this year?

Thanksgiving Decorations

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I know this might be a bit late, but you may have these materials around your home.  Who doesn’t have some extra apples around your home???

Your kids could be occupied by some of these ideas. Just click on the picture to get more info about that project.

Most of these I found on pinterest.  If you haven’t found pinterest, take a look.  It may become more addicting than facebook.  However, I’ve found some great helps there!

 

ENJOY!!!

30 Days – Turkey & Pilgrim Cookies

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For years we have made these turkey cookies with our family.  I found another FUN cookie to make at Thanksgiving…Pilgrim hats with Reese’s.  Of course, my daughter loves tradition and told me she would be making turkey cookies. So, I guess I’ll be taking ingredients for both cookies to my parent’s farm for Thanksgiving.

Which one will you make?

IMG_3148 - Copy

I’m sure I’ve shared this activity before this year, but it is truly a family favorite. Since the beginning of November my kids have asked if we were making turkey cookies this year. The directions and supplies needed are below, but here is a video on how to make these festive cookies!

Open oreo and set them perpendicular (use icing to hold in place)
Place malt ball in the corner and a red hot (gobble) in front of the malt ball.
Ice the oreo that is standing up & down with chocolate icing
Fan candy corn around the maltball to make a fan of feathers.
Eat and enjoy – yummy!!!

Shopping List:
oreos
red hots
malt balls
chocolate icing
candy corn

Pilgrim Hat Cookies

Supplies:

chocolate wafers
mini Reeses peanut butter cups
orange frosting
decorating tube for frosting

Smear some frosting on the top of the Reeses.  Place it upside down on the chocolate wafer. Pipe some frosting around the base and add a buckle.  Voila!

I got this idea from Pinterest.  You can follow me on Pinterest here:
Follow Me on Pinterest

30 Days – Easy Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece

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I love this Thanksgiving table & simple centerpieces.  I think you could make everything for less than $5 if you pick up some candles at the dollar store and use colored paper you already have at home.

from http://www.hostessblog.com

30 days Thanks: Free Thanksgiving Printables & Thanksgiving Websites

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Try some of the free Thanksgiving printables (above) from Free Thanksgiving Printables Or use these free activities on these fun Thanksgiving websites. Spend some time with your family and ENJOY them!

http://www.theteacherscorner.net/seasonal/thanksgiving/
http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/thanksgiving/
http://www.kiddyhouse.com/Thanksgiving/thankskids.html
http://familyfun.go.com/arts-and-crafts/season/feature/famf117tabletop/
http://familycrafts.about.com/od/thanksgiving/

Websites about Thanksgiving history…to keep on learning!
http://www.scholastic.com/scholastic_thanksgiving/
http://www.history.com/minisites/thanksgiving/

Feel free to share any other free Thanksgiving activities

30 Days – Retro Thanksgiving

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Go retro – way retro – by culling from more than 80 historical & contemporary recipes. Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving Recipes & History, From Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie, by Curtin & Oliver, offers a wide variety of recipes for your upcoming feast.

I watched Iron Chef last night.  (I don’t really like that show, but it had Bobby Flay on it).  Their secret ingredient was really a variety of ingredients…foods from the first Thanksgiving (duck that needed to be feathered, venison, and more).  I saw some exceptional recipes and foods being made.  You should be able to get recipes & see a short video at Food Network

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