For our November issue, Good News Wants to Know… What is something unique you have done in the past or are planning to do to celebrate Thanksgiving?
Our family may be very unique in the fact that we usually have a Sukka in our backyard during the Thanksgiving season. It is for the Fall Feasts of the Lord called Tabernacles (aka Booths or Sukkot), which gives us an opportunity to not only reminisce about events in the pilgrims’ lives but to celebrate some big-ticket Biblical events that our forefathers lived out. We are soooo thankful the Jesus came to “tabernacle among us” in the flesh and now in our hearts!
Dr. Andrea Hazim, President and Founder, Elev8Life Educational Foundation
Thanksgiving is a very important time of the year for our household. Celebration of family and giving thanks for the many blessing we have enjoyed has been a tradition in our family for as long as I can remember. Every Thanksgiving we gather our immediate family and extend an invitation to our friends who are alone for this reflective celebration. Our meal is prepared by our family and focuses on special recipes handed down over the generations. It is an energizing time for all of us as we warmly embrace our traditions and welcome the newcomers to come and enjoy our special time together.
Andy Mitchell, President and Founder, The Fairwinds Group and Operation Lift Hope
What makes my family’s Thanksgiving unique is Jamaican cuisine. There is nothing like spending quality time with my family and having a blend of Jamaican and American food Thanksgiving Day!
Ariana Reid, Executive Director, Hope Women’s Centers
Thirty-three years ago we announced at the table that we were adopting our first child, not knowing that she in fact would be born the very next day. God worked in a similar way four years later when unknown to us our son was born while I was sharing my testimony with a group and had concluded by asking them to pray for us as we were awaiting word on our application to adopt a second child. No greater thanks than for the gift of life. And no greater thanks than for the gift of eternal life through adoption.
William “Bill” C. Davell, Director, Tripp Scott Attorneys at Law
Many years ago my wife and I bought almost 50 turkeys put them in our station wagon drove through the inner-city WPB and gave them to moms we were serving
Bill Hobbs, Executive Director, Urban Youth Impact
One of our favorite Thanksgiving traditions is from my wife’s family. they construct a paper tree, just the branches. Cut out a bunch of leaves that describe something they’re thankful for. You then guess who wrote which leaf. Mine are always the best.
Bob Denison, President, Denison Yachting
I am planning to spend Thanksgiving with my family in weather much different than sunny South Florida. We have enjoyed the weather and surroundings in beautiful Eagle County, Colorado for a few years and this year we plan to be there to kick start the winter again. Happy Thanksgiving!
Chip LaMarca, State Representative, Florida House District 93
For many years now we have spent Thanksgiving break with some of our closest friends. We stay at the Campgrounds at Disney and enter the scavenger hunt, play in the corn hole tournament, enjoy a Thanksgiving Day Feast, play a lot of games and set up a movie projector and watch movies under the stars. At the end of the week we head up to Alabama and go to the IRON BOWL game (Alabama vs. Auburn). The best part about our week is the memories we have made.
Chris Lane, President, First Priority of South Florida
We just spend time with friends and family, eat lots of good food and watch Dallas and Detroit play football.
Collins Forman, Jr., P.A.
My Thanksgiving table is rather unique since it’s usually graced with graduate and doctoral students from Florida Atlantic University who represent at least 6 different nations. It’s gives me the opportunity to share about the reasons the Puritans traveled to our shores, that America is blessed because of its godly foundation and to share my faith.
Deborah Cusick, FAU Campus Volunteer, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
Each year we select a single picture that highlights the way God has been working in our lives. After dinner, we listen as each person tells their gratitude story through that picture. The emotional and spiritual connection that happens through this time is a highlight of our Thanksgiving every year.
Doug Sauder, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
The most unique thing I have ever done for thanksgiving was to volunteer at our church, meeting a couple with a 6 month old baby, offer to help them and begin what is now Hope South Florida 24 years ago! Life changing moment for sure!
Fred Scarbrough, DVM, Founder, Scarbrough Animal Hospital and HOPE South Florida
Each Thanksgiving we each write down 10 things we are thankful to God for and then we share them together as a family. It reminds us of how much God has done and continues to do for us and is one of my favorite holidays.
George R. Moraitis, Jr., Moraitis, Cofar, Karney, Moraitis & Quailey
This Thanksgiving, my parents and siblings will celebrate by bringing together four generations in Ft. Lauderdale. We will culminate the weekend with a family photo shoot. We did this six years ago and it will be great to see how folks have grown up and the new additions.
Germain Smith Baugh, President/CEO, Urban League of Broward County
“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from Him.” Psalm 127:3
This Thanksgiving our whole family will be in Fort Lauderdale celebrating and giving thanks to the Lord, for He has blessed our daughter, Nicole, with a baby boy in her womb due in February!
Her sister, Liz, is giving a “Thanksgiving shower” in their honor, thanking God for this “good gift” to our family.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.”
Gita Santangelo, Community Prayer Partner
This year we are traveling to Pennsylvania to prepare the Thanksgiving meal with my wife’s elderly parents. We need to cherish every holiday as if it were our last.
Gregg Wallick, Best Roofing
Our Thanksgiving is a traditional Thanksgiving, spent with family, friends and our loved ones! We are grateful all year long, but take this special day to acknowledge all that God has done for us and look back on how He continues to be faithful to us!
Dr. Mary Drabik, President, South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary
I serve at the west entrance to the sanctuary at Calvary at 9 am on Sunday mornings. We have several recovery programs who bring people fighting addiction to church at our service. It hit me that these people are in recovery for Thanksgiving, and away from their families while they are in a literal fight for their lives. As a matter of fact, by the nature of their addictions, it is unlikely that their families, communities, employers, churches or anyone else want or welcome them. When this hit me, I decided we needed to do something to let them know they are loved and supported at Thanksgiving and in their fight for sobriety.
I have my mother’s pumpkin bread recipe. It is killer. Pumpkin = Thanksgiving, so that is my jumping off point. I don’t know how many loaves I did the first year, but there is a team assembling for a pumpkin bread bakeoff. I expect that we will have over 100 fresh-baked loaves to share with those in recovery who attend church on Sunday. They are utterly gobsmacked by the love, care and welcome the pumpkin bread represents. Now my favorite non-family Thanksgiving tradition.
Matthew D. Weissing, Board Certified Trial Attorney, Edwards Pottinger LLC
Years ago we lived in Poulsbo, Washington, a small rural town outside Seattle. Our house was on this woodsy little strip of asphalt called Sawdust Hill Road. Each Thanksgiving, all the neighbors on Sawdust Hill Road would gather, break bread together, and celebrate God and His goodness. It was simple, it was sweet, it was special and the memory of it remains in my heart to this day!
Oksana Horton, Artistic Director, Torch & Trumpet Theater Company, a subsidiary of Revelation Ministries
My family and I plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with my in-laws, where we will fellowship and eat the most wonderful meal ever. My brother in law and I will watch football games and the family will enjoy each other and eat until our heart’s content.
O’Neal Dozier, Pastor, The Worldwide Christian Center
Many years ago, my husband and I did not have anywhere to go on Thanksgiving, we were newlyweds, and quite naive. We thought we could find a restaurant that was open that would serve Thanksgiving dinner. We drove to Niagara Falls and finally found a Howard Johnson’s (for those that do not remember them, they were a motel that had their own restaurant). On the way there, we came across a homeless man that was out begging in the cold and purchased him dinner. We went from feeling sorry for ourselves to feeling grateful for all we had.
Patricia Colangelo, EdS, Director of Operations – Florida, Trinity International University
One Thanksgiving my family and I volunteered with Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale to distribute Thanksgiving dinners to various families throughout our community…. one of the homes we had the privilege to serve was a household of 6 people who all had ‘special needs’.
As we had the chance hear each one of their testimonies and their FAITH IN GOD & THEIR GRATITUDE….It was both humbling and inspiring. They did more for me than I could’ve ever done for them!!!!!
Coach Rick Andreassen, Founder/President, SAINTS of Florida P.E. and SAINTS International Sports Ministry
When our boys were young we would do the traditional taking turns around the Thanksgiving table with everyone saying what they were thankful for. As they got older we all served at the Church’s Feast of Plenty for many years and later delivered Turkeys to families in need.
Romney C. Rogers, Managing Partner, Rogers Morris & Ziegler Llp
Raised in Detroit Michigan, our family and cousins would rise up at 4:00 am in the freezing cold on thanksgiving morning, wrap ourselves with tons of warm clothing and trek downtown to watch the early morning parade that started around 9:00am This was followed up with a big thanksgiving meal with family and cousins, tackle football in the cold outside, and watching the Detroit football game in the warm cozy house.
Ron Bramos, Senior Pastor, Victory Life Church
I plan on eating, like all the other males in my house in 12 minutes. Half-time takes 12 minutes. There may be some sort of a correlation of which I am unaware.
Samuel Lamerson, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies, Knox Theological Seminary
One of my favorite thanksgiving pastimes, is playing flag football thanksgiving morning with my friends. We are all sore the next day but we love it.
Scott Baugh, Pastor, Journey Church
It’s really not unique but we always make a point to go around the table and say what we are thankful for – so important to thank God for all the blessings and let others know what you are thankful for.
Sue Trombino, Founder, Women Impacting the Nation
Many years ago, we did something different with the houseful of kids we were fostering. After we enjoyed a great feast of every type of food you could imagine, we wanted to remind the kids that even though they were in a difficult place in their lives, they could still help others. So, we made a ton of turkey sandwiches and filled a cooler with water and soda and drove around the community living out Matthew 25:35 – “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.”
Thomas L. Lukasik, Vice President Community Engagement, 4KIDS of South Florida
There’s nothing like a North Carolina Thanksgiving with the warmth of a campfire and all the trimmings! Pumpkins abound, turkeys roam the hills, and the roads are full of Frasier Fir Christmas Tree trucks loading up to deliver throughout the Nation.
It feels like the Spirit of two big Holiday Celebrations wrapped with one big happy bow – all giving thanks for Christ’s Many Blessings! Those moments surrounding by family and friends are hard to beat!
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
Virlee “Vee” Stepelton, Ministry Advocate
Going back about 11 years, I used to go with my Christian on a Mission group over to Pahokee to St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Father John Mericantante (retired pastor now), to feed about 300 of his migrant families that attended his parish. I did that for about 10 years until the very morning of Thanksgiving Day, November 27th, 2008 (where my beloved father passed away in Miami while I was walking into the church with Father John and I got that dreaded phone call). I will never, ever for get that Thanksgiving Day…
Willy Guardiola, Founder, Christian on a Mission