Take time before the session and find a quiet place for reflection. Can you remember the first time you cooked something for your family? How did it feel to be on the giving end of food preparation? To prepare sustenance for loved ones can generate feelings of love and pride. At this season, there are memories and traditions associated with food. What are your family's favorite foods? Do you share the same comments and stories each time the cranberry sauce or the creamed onions are passed around? Have there been new foods to try, new diets to accommodate? How does your family react to changes to the holiday foods?
Reflect on how you and your family express gratitude. Is it through prayer? An extended hug, or a slap on the shoulder? Would you like to try a moment of silence at the family meal or offer a different kind of prayer? Do you have an interfaith family with a variety of traditions? Rest with the idea of gratitude as you contemplate the family meal. Perhaps it is a time already fraught with difficulties. You may wish to concentrate on your own ways to express gratitude and to breathe into calm. Perhaps it is a good time to try something new, and spend a moment together holding hands and expressing thankfulness. As you reflect on your place in the traditions of your family, bring that awareness to your work with the young children who are just starting to learn about the holiday.