"I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude" (Psalm 109:30).
My children loved studying the heroic story about the Pilgrims in our homeschool history class. The Mayflower voyage, Squanto's corn planting and hunting lessons, and the first Thanksgiving all captured my children's deepest interest; however, the one story of the Pilgrims that most affected my family was the story about the "Starving Time" during the spring of 1623.
Imagine going through the cold, New England winter living off a slim, summer corn crop and a few fish. Every person suffered daily from hunger and watched as the food supplies continued to dwindle. Tradition says that eventually all that was left for this band of Pilgrims to eat each day was five kernels of parched corn. Certainly, this is a stark contrast to the Thanksgiving most of us experience!
Because my children's compassionate hearts were touched by this story, we began placing five corn kernels by each of our plates for our Thanksgiving meal. We used this tradition to remember the Pilgrims' sacrifice and reflect on the many blessings God had given us. One by one, we each took our five kernels and offered thanks for five blessings. This ceremony came to be the most meaningful time of our Thanksgiving meal.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? God has blessed you with so much — salvation, health, children, and a home. Perhaps you can use five kernels to encourage your own children to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Count the kernels and count the blessings from our loving Father. "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights" (James 1:17a).
Gracious Father, what a loving God You are! I praise You for all the good things You have given to me. When I get discouraged, help me to remember Your goodness every day of the year as I count my many blessings. In Jesus' name, Amen.