We cannot give God anything; for everything is already His, and all we have comes from Him. We can only give Him praise, thanks and honor. (Martin Luther)
Thanksgiving, otherwise known as Turkey Day in many homes, is a wonderful time for all families, but particularly families with young children, to move beyond the turkey and initiate training in thankfulness. The bible tells us to “give thanks to the Lord, for it is good” (Psalm 107:1). The scripture also declare that we should “enter His gates with thanksgiving” (Psalm 100:4).
Nurturing and promoting an attitude of gratitude in our families truly honours the Lord and the Thanksgiving season is a wonderful time to grow our children spiritually in this area. Here are some ideas that might help move toward that goal.
For families with young children or grandchildren…..
Tell a Story
Children love stories. Thanksgiving presents a great opportunity to use stories to reinforce the necessity for gratitude in our lives. Consider sharing these in the month of October:
- Read the story of the healing of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19. Remind your youngsters that Jesus was pleased with the one Samaritan who returned to give thanks.
- Using a children’s Bible read the story of the great celebration the Israelites held after rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:27-47). Talk about the instruments they used, the two great choirs that marched on top of the walls to the temple, and the participation of the leaders. Put together your own band and practice some joyful praise songs as you march around the house!
Focus on Blessings
- Let younger children make a GOD IS GOOD chain. Gather scissors, stickers, pencils, crayons, glue and construction paper. Cut the paper in strips and lead the children to consider the many ways that God is good. Have them write or draw on the strips. Connect them into a chain and hang it in a conspicuous place.
- Choose a family project for October that will force the focus on God’s goodness. Like a Thankful poster!
To make a Thankful poster get a piece of poster paper (any paper will do) and on the top write: ThankfulPoster. Then together as a family list all the things you are grateful for. Use coloured markers and stickers to make it stand out. Hang it in a prominent place to remind the family of all you have to be thankful for!
For families of all ages……
Serve up a memory this THANKSGIVING
The primary focus of Thanksgiving tends to be on the meal itself. But even this can be planned to bring eternal perspectives to the table. Consider these suggestions:
- Make place cards for each place setting. On one side the name of the guest, on the other a Scripture verse that refers to giving thanks. Let each person read their verse.
- Have a brief family sharing time before or after the meal. Include everyone by placing a paper leaf with an assignment at each place: (read Psalm 100, share a Thanksgiving memory, sing a Thanksgiving song etc.)
- Give each person a unlit votive candle. Have one person begin by lighting the candle and thanking God for a specific blessing; continue around the table. A candlelight service!!
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is Good” (Psalm 107:1)