Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cooking Up a Thanksgiving "Feast"

I want to share with you a very simple plan for an intentional, Charlotte Mason-friendly, and delightful Thanksgiving week.  This is by no means an exhaustive list; it's just a small sampling of some favorite resources.  These are the Thanksgiving activities I'll be doing with my own children over the course of the next week.

Plan one special afternoon teatime, save them for the long weekend to enjoy as a family, or take the week off school and spread them out over the days leading up to Thanksgiving like we are.

Some holiday reading

For the little-bit-biggers - The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dagliesh

For the adults, or as a family read-aloud - Louisa May Alcott's An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving

A fall walk the crisp air--just around the block even--to gather all the colored leaves you can.  The more variety the better.  When you get home, spread them all out on the dining table.  Little ones can make leaf men; big kids (and mommies) can identify and chart in their nature journals.

A simple art project

Then collect all the leaves back up again and get out the oil pastels to make a lovely set of placecards for the feast table.  (Or do it in watercolors--I think that's the method we'll be using this year!)

Some suitable music

While you're working, a few favorite songs:
"Over the River and Through the Woods"
"Faith of our Fathers"
"Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow"
"Now Thank We All Our God"

Beautiful artwork

Take a few moments to look at a picture or two together, or just post them on the wall during these cozy fall days:

A few holiday poems

Here's a whole compilation if you are poetry lovers like we are!  But my children have been working on this one for the past couple weeks:  

We Thank Thee by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

And end with a prayer

We'll be using the "Te Deum," a traditional prayer of praise and thanksgiving dating back to the 4th century.  (You can hear it chanted here.)  I have included it in English below.  It would be a lovely addition to your Thanksgiving table blessing!

O God, we praise Thee, and acknowledge Thee to be the supreme Lord.
Everlasting Father, all the earth worships Thee.
All the Angels, the heavens and all angelic powers,
All the Cherubim and Seraphim, continuously cry to Thee:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Heaven and earth are full of the Majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles,
The wonderful company of Prophets,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Holy Church throughout the world acknowledges Thee:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
O Christ, Thou art the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
When Thou tookest it upon Thyself to deliver man,
Thou didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Having overcome the sting of death, Thou opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all 
Thou sitest at the right hand of God in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou willst come to be our Judge.
We, therefore, beg Thee to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy 
Precious Blood.
Let them be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.

V.  Save Thy people, O Lord, and bless Thy inheritance!
R.  Govern them, and raise them up forever.

V.  Every day we thank Thee.
R.  And we praise Thy Name forever, yes, forever and ever.

V.  O Lord, deign to keep us from sin this day.
R.  Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.

V.  Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have hoped in Thee.
R.  O Lord, in Thee I have put my trust; let me never be put to shame.  Amen.