Teachable Moments

Have a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

Do you know this picture and why it is a classic at Thanksgiving? 

The painting entitled, Saying Grace, and created by Norman Rockwell in 1951 for the Thanksgiving cover of the magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, was inspired by a reader of the post who had witnessed a Mennonite family pausing to pray prior to eating their meal in a restaurant. Rockwell was paid $3500 to make this cover but it sold for $46 million dollars in December of 2013.

Before creating this art, Rockwell researched how he would do it by visiting New York and Philadelphia diners and automats and used his son, Jarvis, as a model for this work to create a “as real to life” scene as he could manage.  It was so real, many who saw the picture said they recognized the diner when in actuality, it was a compilation of all his travels’ stops and doesn’t really exist. Rockwell is well-known for his physical creation of a scene, using family and friends and real tables and chairs as props, taking hundreds of photos and then starting his art with a charcoal sketch, moving on to oils and then finally, creating the painting.   

Rockwell has preserved our American heritage through his art and shows that the story of our country matters.  While not a perfect America, Rockwell captures the heart and relationships amidst the challenges of the time. He paints the good, the hopeful, and the best of people.

I appreciate Rockwell’s art as it reminds me how God has instructed us to think about our lives and those people in it.  We are to be quick to forgive, quick to think the best, and quick to enjoy. After all, this is how we all want to be treated – and it’s clear we are to Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31, ESV)

Family times at Thanksgiving can look a lot more like a Norman Rockwell painting if we but had the mindset of the artist who painted his famous pictures.

  • Value others needs above your own
    • Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you look to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4 NIV).
  • Look at issues from others’ perspectives
    • For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3 ESV)
  • Live by the Spirit
    •  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22, 23 ESV)

Dear Friend, Happy Thanksgiving!  Will you join with me today in asking God to allow our thankfulness for all Christ has done for us eternally shine through our lives to bless those we gather with today?  May His death and resurrection produce in us a life that blesses others.  

He died for us – how can we not but live for Him!

Blessings Abundant for a Happy Thanksgiving – gratefully yours, Elizabeth

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