Dear readers, I hope you will pause a moment and turn on the sound to your computer and listen to this weeks song choice, it is called, A Blessing by David Petete. This is my prayer for all of you who have visited here at Quill Cottage and who have been such a blessing to me. It is my Thanksgiving gift to each of you. Below the following pictures you will find an added blessing to enhance your holiday celebration.
Did you spy my honored guests among my decor? Peer a little closer to see who they are:
Yes, that is little Squirrel Nutkin munching away on his holiday fare!
And yes, that is little Autumn perched as pretty as you please on the end of a cornucopia! If you missed little Autumn's arrival at Quill Cottage and her adventures along the way you can read about them here. Now, on to the other blessing.....
There is rich symbolism in the tradition of Thanksgiving that can not only be traced to the Pilgrims but also to our spiritual heritage. When raising my children I had and still have a strong desire to pass on our spiritual heritage and often looked for creative ways of doing so. One way was through visual aids. I came across a recipe for a Thanksgiving Blessing Mix several years ago and using it as a jumping off point I added to it, changed up the symbols meanings to meet my teaching needs and a family tradition was born. This year I added a poem to the mix and I offer this little tradition to you:
Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
For this sweet and salty mixture you will need:Bugles
M & M's
Mixed Dried Fruits of your choice
Mix all ingredients and place in individual bags for each guest to take home. At each place setting provide a little dish with a few of each of the ingredients. Share what each ingredient symbolizes (this information is below). I have the recipe, symbol meanings, and poem, printed up in book form for each guest to follow along and as a take home gift. I invite you to use these as part of your holiday celebration, just cut and paste them into the print program of your choice and Enjoy!
The bugles represent one of the most recognizable symbols of Thanksgiving, the cornucopia, also called the horn of plenty. It is a decorative motif, originating in ancient Greece that symbolized abundance. The original cornucopia was a curbed goat’s horn filled to overflowing with fruit and grain.
This symbol reminds us of God’s great abundance towards us. His Word reminds us that He supplies us with abundant joy (Psalm 36:8), abundant life (John 10:10), abundant grace (2 Corinthians 9:8), abundant power (Ephesians 3:20), abundant supplies (Philippians 4:19). “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
The mixed dried fruits remind us of the fruits the Pilgrims enjoyed. They also remind us of the fruits of the Spirit and the Christian graces we should all display daily. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:22 & 25)
The Candy Corn
The candy corn represents the corn the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to grow. It is also a reminder of the sacrifices of the Pilgrims their first winter, food was so scarce that the settlers survived on just a few kernels of corn each day. Without the knowledge of planting and growing the seeds, they may have starved. Some varieties of corn that are grown today are known as “sweet” corn and are sweet to the taste. These kernels of corn represent God’s Holy Word. A few “kernels” each day will sustain us, nourish us, fill us, and keep us spiritually alive. Scripture is sweet to the taste, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter, than honey comb to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103
The gingersnaps represent spices commonly used in many foods by the early American settlers. The spices remind us of Jesus’ sweet sacrifice for us. He was anointed with sweet spices upon his death by those who loved him, “And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome, had brought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.” (Mark 16:1)
The Oyster Crackers
The oyster crackers represent the oysters the Native Americans harvested from the sea and brought to the first Thanksgiving celebration. They are a representation of forgiveness. The oysters were harvested from the depths of the sea, which reminds us that upon asking forgiveness the Lord casts our sins into the depths of the sea. “He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and he will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:19) What is laid to rest on the bottom of the ocean floor cannot be retrieved. What is forgiven is also forgotten.
The Pumpkin Seeds and Mixed Nuts
The pumpkin seeds and mixed nuts represent harvest time and the tradition of pumpkin pie. Harvest time should remind us of the true harvest spoken of in the Bible, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35) The harvest Jesus was speaking about was not a harvest of crops but that of souls, people who need forgiveness and are seeking salvation from their sins and in need of assurance of eternal life. This is also a reminder that we are to be continually active in this harvest, seeds of faith need to be gently planted and tenderly nourished.
The pretzels represent arms folded in prayer. The Pilgrims were sustained by the power of prayer and despite any hardships they faced they had a continual attitude of thankfulness. This is a reminder that our prayer life is vital in keeping worry at bay and keeping our hearts and minds quiet and focused on being thankful. “Be careful (worry) for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
The M & M’s represent the memories of the Pilgrims who came before us to guide us into a nation under God, to give us religious freedom, to inspire hope and the promise of a blessed future. This is a representation of the sweet sacrifice Jesus made for us by giving his very life for us. His sacrifice provided us with hope and not condemnation and gives us the bright promise of a blessed future in heaven. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:16-17
The Hershey's Kisses
The Hershey’s Kisses are a representation of the love of Christ, family, and friends that sweetens and enriches our lives, for these we offer thanksgiving: (based on Colossians 1)
To all who are gathered this table ‘round,
May grace and peace to you extend and abound
From God our Father and Christ the Son,
May abundant blessings be upon every one
We give thanks to God and the Lord Jesus Christ,
For His abundant and willing sacrifice
It is our privilege to lift up in prayer,
All those for whom we love and care
May we each be filled with the knowledge of your will,
Wisdom, and spiritual understanding that is real
May we each walk worthy of your call,
Being pleasing to the Lord and a blessing to all
Help us to be fruitful in every good work,
Increasing in God’s knowledge and no duty shirk
Strengthen us with all your might,
May your power surround us bright
With patience, self-control, and joyfulness,
Let us give thanks to the Father who has so richly blessed
Who has given us an inheritance as saints of light,
Who delivered us from the darkness of night
Who gave us redemption through His blood,
And offers forgiveness like a rushing flood
This washes us clean from the stains of sin,
A forgiveness offered to all men
Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift,
To you, dear Father, these we do lift
Bless them and keep them in your care,
Help them with the burdens they bear
Fill our hearts with thanksgiving, prayer and praise,
For the abundance that fills all our days. Amen.