At Thanksgiving, our eyes are opened to how to give thanks to God for the way He has blessed us! Family and friends are usually at the top of our lists along with our amazing freedom and salvation in Christ.
Often when we think of family, we think of those who live in our homes. We become distant from parents, grandparents, and siblings. Not because we want to—just because we don’t see them as much. We don’t share life together very often.
That’s what I love about Thanksgiving—seeing extended family! Swapping stories and the latest news. Catching up.
I realize once again how thankful I am for my extended family. Let’s talk about how to give thanks for extended families.
Do you have a “Count-Your-Blessings” list?
I do. It makes such a difference in my life. Thankfulness always leads to joy! When I feel glum or misunderstood, I count my blessings. When life is hard and I feel I can’t go on, I enumerate all the things I can thank the Lord for.
This little list has made such an impact on my emotional health. It keeps my perspective balanced. Yes, there are hard things, but also lots of good things in my life.
Add your extended family to your blessings list. Thank God for their humor, personalities, delicious apple pie recipes, and ability to fix anything.
Maybe you realize that you don’t really know your extended family very well. It might be that you’ve lost touch with your younger sister or older brother.
Start by thanking God for the childhood memories you have that include them. Thank God for their smiles and jokes. Praise the Lord for having extended family. At a time of year where so many are lonely, we never want to take extended family for granted. Counting your blessings is a simple way on how to give thanks.
“We Never See Them”
My husband’s brothers and sisters all lived within an hour’s drive from one another, but we lived far away. We were so surprised to discover that when we gathered with them on our trips home, they hadn’t seen one another for months. It wasn’t on purpose.
The same with siblings. They are busy. We are busy. It takes effort to maintain those bonds. The interesting thing about siblings is that they are the only ones who know us from beginning to end. Our parents are at the beginning, but usually not at the end of our lives. Our spouse is with the middle and end of our lives, but usually not the beginning. Yet, our siblings are there at the beginning even to old age. This makes them super-special.
As we go through the busyness of raising our own family, we often forget our parents. Quick visits and occasional phone calls make us feel distant from them, especially if we disagree on major issues. The sad thing is when we finally have the time to spend with our parents, they are getting old and sickly. We miss out on so much.
I finally decided to set aside a time each week to call Mom and Dad. That meant so much to them. I’m grateful for those Sunday afternoon phone calls because they left this life long before I was ready.
You can get the Thanksgiving Placecards & Scriptures by leaving your name & email. They can encourage your kids on how to give thanks. We’ll zip it on over to your inbox.
Over the Miles
Maybe you have extended family, but they are far away, scattered across the country or even the world.
There are ways to connect with extended family that are easy and even fun:
- Monthly Zoom Call
- Family News Email
- Family Text
- Family Reunions
A monthly zoom call is easy and fun. Everyone gets on and chats. There is often laughter and joking, but sometimes tears as folks share sad news.
A family news email is a group email that keeps going on and on. Folks add to it as they go with news, updates, and loving thoughts. It’s always fun to share pictures and videos.
A family text is similar to a family news email, but in a group text rather than through email.
Family Reunions can be as simple as gathering for a holiday meal or as complicated as a week at a hotel at the beach or cabin in the mountains. Either way, it’s always special when the whole family gets together.
Let Them Know
It’s one thing to be grateful for extended family, but you can go the extra mile and let family members know how much you appreciate them.
A quick, “I’m really thankful for you!” during a hug can mean a lot more than you will ever know.
My aunts played a huge role in my life. I had the privilege of caring for both of them at the end of their lives. Years after my parents died, they showed love and concern on a regular basis. I’m thankful they sowed into their relationships with me over the years. They eased the suffering of losing my parents.
So, look around. Do you have extended family?
Thank God for them and let them know you love them. Life is short and the holidays are a great time to remember that family is truly important.
I wish each one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving! As for me, I’m going to call my sister.
Until next time Happy Homeschooling!
Meredith Curtis, homeschool mom to 5 graduates, is writer, speaker, and homeschool curriculum creator. She loves to inspire and equip families on their homeschool adventures from preschool all the way to high school graduation! She is so thankful to be Grand-Merey to 5 blessings so far! Meredith is the author of Celebrate Thanksgiving, Celebrate Christmas in Germany Unit Study, Celebrate Christmas with Cookies Unit Study, and Travel God’s World Geography. Find Meredith at PowerlineProd.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. She looks forward to meeting you!