The Blessings Jar

Blessings Jar(This article was written by my sons, James and Blake Davis.)

Ever notice…

Once in awhile there’s just SOMETHING to be thankful for???

It saddens me how nowadays Thanksgiving seems to be mainly about food—lots and lots of food. And, of course, football games. Hopefully there will be family time, but getting to the turkey and then on to the TV seems to be uppermost on everyone’s mind. I’ve actually heard people refer to the holiday as “Turkey-day” instead of “Thanksgiving day”.

Believe me, I love food, and I love eating food, but the Pilgrims weren’t celebrating food. (Well, actually, maybe they were a little. After all, they had been through a winter where their daily ration was five kernels of corn. So I imagine food was a big part of what they were celebrating.)

But my point is, what happened to Thanksgiving being about, well, Thanks-giving?

When I was little we had what we called a “Blessings” jar. It was just an ordinary looking pottery jar with a cork top and the word “Blessings” stamped into the clay.

Next to this jar was a little pad of paper and a pen. Throughout the year we would write our blessings, as they happened, on these little pieces of paper and place them in our Blessings Jar.

Needed gifts we received, Prayers answered, Friends who touched us, Health problems averted. It didn’t matter what it was, if it blessed us, we wrote it down on a small slip of paper and placed in our Blessings Jar.

Every time something good happened, we’d write what happened on a little piece of paper, fold it, and put it in the jar.

For 364 days of each year, nothing came out of the jar, things only went in.

But once a year the “Blessings” would be emptied out of the jar and read aloud.

Each year on Thanksgiving we would enjoy my mothers fantastic turkey with gravy, stuffing, rice, cranberry sauce (I liked to kind of mix everything up except the cranberry sauce and pour gravy over all of it, Yum!) and maybe some vegetables. Maybe follow it up with some mincemeat pie…. Wow, this is making me hungry.

But after the last person had finished the last helping of dessert and we had thanked Mom and prepared our defense against dishwashing assignments, we had a special tradition. We would pull out the Blessings Jar and start passing it around the table, reading the different blessings God had bestowed our family in the previous year.

Sometimes the words were too big for us when we were little, so my parents had to help us read them.

In this way, we got to celebrate every good thing that happened during the past year once more.

We got to be thankful for them once more.

Many things we had forgotten about until we read them again, and we all smiled and laughed.

Every year, we REMEMBERED.

After Thanksgiving began a new year of good things to write down.

A new year of things to put in the jar.

A new year of exciting stories waiting to be read.

A new year of good things waiting to be remembered!

What are you thankful for this year?

What are YOU thankful for? Are there blessings you want to share about this past year, or about right now in your life?

Get a Blessings Jar and write down all you can remember, or just think on them, but REMEMBER.


I Chronicles 16: 12 Remember the wonders he has done….


  1. We heard your dad and mom share the Blessing Jar idea and MANY other helpful life lessons at the NCHE conference over 20-some years ago.I am particularly thankful we followed their advice and began a Blessing Jar for our family. This has become one of the most meaningful things we do as a family. So today, the day before Thanksgiving, our two college-aged children are finishing their additions to the Blessings Jar to be read later this weekend over chinese take-out when it’s just our immediate family at the table. (Another tradition that got started when Mom didn’t want to cook and we needed something other than turkey leftovers!)
    After we’ve finished, I’ll put them in date order and bundle them up to be placed with the other years’ blessings. These are stones of remembrance of God’s faithfulness and goodness.
    Thank you for sharing this tradition. Your family continues to be blessing to so many others, including ours
    Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!.

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