Thanksgiving is a time to put our best talents to work for God, to show our gratitude. And here’s a chance to learn how to make a topclass cornucopia to grace a Thanksgiving table. A cornucopia is easy to make if you just follow a picture, the easy instructions below, and the list of ingredients. Your design will help children appreciate how great people, places, and things grow from seeds of faith and gratitude” as well as how our country grew from a one strongly religious seedling group of 202 people into the plethora of Christian believers who have graced our shores.
Handful of pumpkin-seeds
Note: Put these seeds in a safe place like your handbag, so they don’t get lost in the shuffle of making a cornucopia, as they go with the lesson and not in the display!
– Large serving tray
– Cornucopia basket, or, if you do not own one or cannot buy one at your local supermarket, you can fashion one out of several layers of aluminum foil.
– Fruit and veggies: Note fruit and veggies are often more economical at your local fruit and vegetable market. However, because you only need 1 or 2 of each of the bigger pieces below and just a handful of the smaller quantities, it is probably more economical to make purchases at the supermarket. Per the fruits that you need to ripen– including pears and tangerines–you may want to purchase them a few days in advance to allow them to sit on a sunny windowsill.
Substitute items as budget and creativity dictate:
– Yellow pepper
– Red pepper
– 2 vine-grown tomatoes (with the green still implanted in the top)
– Two oranges or tangerines (ripe)
– Two pears (ripe)
– Two apples (1 green, 1 red)
– Red and green grapes
– Asparagus, 1 bunch
– Brussels sprouts
– 2 carrots, peeled
– 6 small potatoes
– 6 mushrooms
– Green beans
– 1 zucchini
– 1 artichoke
– 6 strawberries
– Cherry tomatoes, red and yellow, a few each.
– Romaine lettuce
To make your cornucopia:
1. Wash the large serving tray thoroughly, along with the cornucopia and all fruits and vegetables before leaving the house.
2. Once in your classroom, place cornucopia in the center of the tray.
3. Line the bottom of the cornucopia with romaine lettuce leaves that stick out
about three or four inches.
4. Put the green grapes in the center with the red grapes on top and to the left.
5. Place the artichoke on top of the romaine on the right. Place green beans to the left of it and fill in above with romaine and parsley.
6. Going counterclockwise, place around the cornucopia a tomato, red apple, banana, orange, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, zucchini, pear, green apple, tomato, carrots with asparagus on top, mushrooms, small potatoes, orange, red pepper, pear and yellow pepper. Fill in holes with parsley sprigs and romaine.
7. Take the cornucopia to the church kitchen or cover it with tea towels for now.
Spread the pumpkinseeds on the table in front of you in a row. Here are five little pumpkinseeds”¦ they don’t look very important in the overall scheme of things, do they? No.
They don’t even taste very good by themselves. What do they taste like without all the salt and spices and baking that goes into making pumpkinseeds? Who has ever tasted one? A student ought to tell you they are pretty bland.
They’re not crunchy, are they? They’re not soft and chewy either. They’re just not noticeable in the overall scheme of cool foods. Let’s pretend”¦ these seeds are little Pilgrims. Push the seeds around until there are two at the top and three beneath. Here are Mom and Dad and the three Pilgrim kids.
Actually these seeds are a little like pilgrims. All the pilgrims dressed alike. They were all from England and probably looked alike.
Over in England, the church acted very dull and dead, like it was more interested in getting by than showing the love of Jesus. There were a lot of rituals. Stand up, sit down, say prayers that somebody else made up, and few Bibles for learning and studying.
The Pilgrims wanted a simpler faith. They wanted to speak to God in their own words. They wanted to have real relationships with him. They wanted to return to worshipping in the way the early Christians had, like the Apostles and the people who established the first churches.
Point at the seeds.
They wanted to separate from the Church of England because they saw Jesus as a real person and not just a set of rules and regulations. They felt like they had to get away from all those rules and regulations to know Jesus more deeply.
So, they got on the Mayflower, braved the rough seas with 97 other people”¦ move all five seeds slowly from one side of the table to the other “¦to come to America. It was all forests, and Native Americans were the only inhabitants when they came ashore.
Move one seed to the center. For a dad, this was scary. Move another seed. For a mom, it was scary too. “Our kids could die over here,” they thought. And, not being explorers, the Pilgrims didn’t realize how extreme the diseases could be on your body when you get to another part of the world.
But it was worth it. They could finally worship God the way they wanted to, and no king, no church, no excruciating taxes were going to bother them!
But the diseases would. Move the three children back with their parents. Only two people died on the Mayflower. But once the Mayflower was anchored at Plymouth Rock and the winter set in, more than half of the people died of diseases for which they had no immunity. There is a fifty-fifty chance that all members of this family would die in the wilderness that was the eastern shore of America.
So, what would have been the point of it? That cold, wet, scary Mayflower journey, that encounter with Native Americans, who looked, acted, and sounded nothing like they did”¦facing down a cold winter while building huts and cabins, and then facing disease and possibly dying. What is the point?
Jesus said in John 12:24, Very truly I tell you, unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
How does that verse relate to this story? The Pilgrims were like seeds. What happens to a seed when it “dies,” meaning it separates from its original fruit, and falls to the ground? It sprouts a tree and grows more fruit.
Move the five seeds a bit forward. This family lived. They not only had five more children, but they taught all 10 kids the meaning of faith and freedom and love of Jesus. Those 10 children averaged five children each.
How many children is that? Fifty.
The Pilgrims were like seeds. They sowed many prayers that America would be filled with other oppressed believers. They sowed prayers that our country would be strong and good.
They sowed the seeds of faith. Many of them arrived merely to be buried in the ground, but the mustard seeds of faith that got them here took root and gave birth until there were seeds, from sea to shining sea”¦
Bring out your cornucopia.
All of these fruits and vegetables either came from seeds or came from the earth where seeds have always been sown. Think of the five little pumpkinseeds and think of this big cornucopia. Think of 102 pilgrims and think of the people across our land who now pause each November to give thanks for all we have, like the Pilgrims did with the Native Americans.
God has blessed this country ever since, largely because of what the pilgrims did. Let’s continue to sow seeds. Future generations need us, now, to be pilgrims for tomorrow. Let’s try every day to “love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds and our neighbors as ourselves.”
As Jesus said, “Herein lies all the law and the prophets.” On this Thanksgiving weekend, let’s be thankful for all that comes from small seeds, and ask Jesus to grow us into tall trees of faith.
You might also be interested in these other awesome Thanksgiving craft ideas!