The Hands of Thanksgiving

5067790_lLook down at your two wonderfully created hands. Did you ever stop and think about how amazing those two parts of your body are? I have been blessed never to have been serious injured on either of my hands, but I do know that when I have had even the smallest cut, bruise, or hang nail, or sting, or burn I realize just how much I need every single one of those ten fingers and the use of all those thousand little bones and moving parts at the end of my arms.


This is the “Season of Thanks” and as inspiration poured down upon me on this idea of The Hands of Thanksgiving, hands begin to show up large everywhere in front of me. Why “Hands”? As this word was utmost in my thoughts, I was whisked away to all of times I sat with my head bowed at our family dinner table, Thanksgiving table, & Christmas celebration feast and I was suddenly a child again. On either side of me I could hear my younger sisters squirming in their chairs and from one end of the table my father’s voice. As my recollection memory began to come into focus, my father’s dinner prayer became clearer and suddenly I knew what this title to this piece was all about.


As you read this you will see many photos of “HANDS”. Beautiful, gentle, hardworking, caring, tender hands all doing what it takes to get the “Love of Life” done. Notice I did not say the “jobs of life” done. Herein lays the difference. It is all about our perspective on what we do with our magnificent hands and the motive behind them. If we use our hands to merely get a job done and receive money, or are looking for accolades then we are toiling and working. When any one of us uses that which is a gift and our gifting in life in the service of others, we are never working we are “serving”. These two sentences offer a huge mindset shift in life if you are discerning enough to understand them. For you it may be a matter of how you actually felt just now as you read them.


As you sit down at your Thanksgiving feast, your Christmas feast, your Celebration feast for whatever special occasion during the years to come and at every meal you eat stop and think for just a moment all of the hands who brought you that meal. Someone planted, grew, harvested, processed, transported, packaged, marketed, put it on the shelf, checked it out, bagged it, thought of how to combine it with other things to be a delicious meal, cleaned it, cooked it, served it, and handed it to you; all before you ever take one bite. Each of those steps and many, many more sub steps all involved someone elses hands; another person whose hands are a miracle, who is either working or serving you.






As I wrote this piece in my mind yesterday while driving in the car, I thought of a wonderful way you and your family and guests might like to begin your own “Hands of Thanksgiving” tradition. Gather together colored pieces of construction paper, or scrapbook pages with fall scenes on them or even plain white copy paper, pens, markers and crayons and scissors. Type up or give each guest and family member a sheet of paper something to write with and scissor to cut and these instructions.


“Today before we sit down to celebrate with our meal, trace the hand of each person who will be at our table. Simply have them lay their hand on your sheet of paper and you trace their hand. Then you write why you are “Thankful for them” of why they have been a “Blessing to you” put their name at the top and sign your name at the bottom. Then cut out the hand and put your hands on top of your plate at the table.”

8811194_lWhen everyone is at the table, I suggest you begin by reading your “Hands of Thanksgiving” first. As you finish each hand, give the hand to the person you just read about. What you will see is a transformation at your table of Thanksgiving. Even very small children will love to do this. Memories and Traditions will be formed right before your eyes and do not be surprised if tears roll down cheeks.



[A word about those who will be resistant to all this “touch feely” stuff – do not push, bully, mock, or shame them. Honor and serve them with a “Hand” and do not force their participation. Sometimes a person, who has never seen, heard or felt “True Love, Honor or Respect” has no idea how to participate, nor give, nor receive it. A person like this can only do what they have had modeled to them in life. By doing this simple act of Love and Service you are modeling a new way of living. Believe me it will have an impact and the seed of love and service will be planted. Smile and give them their hand.]



Let’s return to the dinner table of my childhood and to finish my story earlier. My Father always prayed the same prayer every night. I never really gave much thought to where he came up with his dinner prayer, and when we on the rare occasion we were guests or visiting other relatives, I never heard my Father’s prayer from another person. As we sat and listened and the delicious smells of the food wafted up from the table (my Mom came from a long line of great cooks!), my eyes were always shut right up to a certain point when I knew my Father was going to say his last sentence. At this exact moment I would tilt my head and open one eye that faced my Mother’s end of the table in order to see her expression. My Father would say: “…..and bless the hands which made this meal…..Amen.” My Mom never opened her eyes and at the moment my Father began “…and…” she would always get this smile on her face, absorbing like a sponge those simple yet powerful eight words of appreciation.