We all have various traditions for Thanksgiving. My family watches the Macy's parade, has a frozen cranberry dessert as an essential component of our Thanksgiving meal, and we sing Christmas carols later in the evening to inagurate the season.
About 25 years ago, my mom did something that didn't really become a tradition, rather it became a daily part of her life as my mother. She spoke specific blessings into my life. On Thanksgiving, when I was about 10 or 11, my mom gave me a letter of thanks. I don't have the letter, or even remember what it said except that it was deeply personal and it made me cry. I felt loved and understood; seen and known.
Remembering this, and realizing that I have an 11 year old, I decided to write to my children for Thanksgiving. I sat in quiet, pondered what they meant to me, and the words just flowed. What treasures I have in them! I pray that my words of blessing over them will become their reality. What I am thankful for in them is very likely what God is thankful for in them as well.
C.S. Lewis writes famously in The Weight of Glory that each of us will either be like gods or goddesses, or hideous nightmares somedays. "You have never talked to a mere mortal." Our responsibility is to recognize that what we we say can nudge persons towards one path or the other. Some of us will be breaking bread with people we don't like very much this weekend. We will express the usual things we are thankful for: possessions, freedom, our families. But lets also be thankful for the divine spark in our neighbor - the unlovely, the embarrassing, the black sheep of the family were also created in His image. I believe speaking life and grace into each other expresses our gratitude to God in ways that platitudes never will. And thank you, Mom, for all the blessings you have spoken into my life.