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A Thanksgiving tip

Urge your Thanksgiving guests today to say what they are thankful for to God, and who knows, somebody might speak up. But that lackluster response and the awkward looking down at their shoes is only partly their fault—you need to be more creative with the question. Remember what a nonstarter it was when you used to come home from school and your mother said, “How was school?”

Here is a suggestion. After the turkey is picked clean and the dishes done and the Scrabble game retired, distribute pieces of paper and pens around the room and have each person draw parallel lines across the page, dividing his or her past into seven-year segments: age 0 to 7, age 8 to 14, age 15 to 21, age 22 to 28, etc. Assign each participant the task of jotting down places where God showed up during those periods.

You will be amazed at what emerges from this simple exercise. I am a person who thought I had almost zero recall of the first one-ninth of my life. That goes for all memories, not just memories of God’s winks, rescues, and presence. But I will bet you my chocolate cream pie recipe that you will find at least one instance, in your pre-Christian life, where God was already pursuing and preparing.

Segment 1: My mother, a woman with no interest in God in those days, bought a Bible from an aggressive door-to-door salesman—a large gilded doorstopper of a book that every good Catholic home should have, and keep on the bottom shelf of the night table for good luck. It boasted a substantial centerfold section of pictures of Moses and Jesus that told a pre-reader the outline of a sacrifice of suffering that was somehow glorious. I read it furtively, sneaking into my parents’ room for solitary perusing. I had almost forgotten that chapter of my life.

Once you have your lists of lifetime God-sightings, share them with your family and guests, in effect conducting your own worship service at home. (Do try this at home.) And even if you have to work around the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions in your endeavor, then work around them. It’s very worth the wait.

Andrée Seu Peterson’s Won’t Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, regularly $12.95, is now available from WORLD for only $5.95.

Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is a senior writer for WORLD Magazine. Her commentary has been compiled into three books including Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me. Andrée resides in Philadelphia, Penn.


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