Thanksgiving is a major event in the Dobson home. It begins with a meaningful gathering with relatives who live close by and those who are able to travel. When the big day arrives, excitement, anticipation, and the aroma of roasting turkey fill the air. When dinnertime is announced, we assemble around the table, and Jim [Dobson] reads a Scripture passage. We all hold hands as he offers a prayer of Thanksgiving to God.
After we eat the main meal and the table is cleared for dessert, I place three kernels of Indian corn beside each plate. I explain that the kernels are to remind us of the first Thanksgiving. After the Pilgrims came to America and endured such a dreadful winter, they made a great feast to show gratitude to God for bringing them through. A little basket is then passed around, and as we drop our kernels into the basket, we describe three blessings for which we are most thankful. Our thoughts invariably turn to loved ones, as we speak with deep feeling and appreciation for each one of them. Usually by the time the basket has circled the table, everyone’s eyes are moist from joy and fond remembrances. We do this every year to thank God for the family He has given us and to reaffirm our need for one another.
Circumstances continually change, and nothing is constant. But while God grants us breath and life, we will enjoy one another to the fullest and celebrate the love and blessings He has given us. (excerpt from Welcome To Our Table)
Bio: As the wife of Focus on the Family founder, Dr. James Dobson, Shirley has devoted her life to the ministry and embraced many opportunities to entertain guests. From dignitaries to backdoor neighbors to the family, Shirley has opened her heart and spread the table for all. Danae, James and Shirley’s daughter, remembers the gatherings and lovingly recalls what her mother taught her about being kind and extending hospitality. Now mother and daughter have gathered the stories of those celebrations and get-togethers to inspire others.