Making Thanksgiving Special This Year
What the bible says about
Making Thanksgiving Meaningful
Do you want your thanksgiving gathering to include, well, giving thanks?
We all love sharing turkey, fixings and pumpkin pie around with family and friends followed by the annual turkey bowl. But too often we forget to plan a few moments to focus on the purpose of the holiday. Choose one or several of these ideas to help your family enjoy fun Thanksgiving traditions while expressing thanks to God for His many blessings.
If you don’t have a church home, we would love for you to join us for an upcoming worship service to help foster an ongoing spirit of thanksgiving in your home.
Download 21 Great Ideas to Practice Thankfulness
Some Helpful Tips
FINDING BABY JESUS
Gather as a family and read the Christmas story in Luke2. Go through your nativity set and talk about each piece as described in the Bible, ending with Baby Jesus.
Let your family know that you want to remember to “find” the true meaning of Christmas during this season, so every day Baby Jesus will be hidden somewhere around the house. Each day, the children can search and find Christ to put him in the manger. This reminds us to seek to find Him throughout the season.
CHRISTMAS CARD PRAYERS
The Christmas season is filled with wonderful wishes from family and friends. Each time you receive a special Christmas card or annual Christmas letter, take a couple of minutes to talk about the blessing that God has given you in those friends or family.
Then, thank the Lord for those individuals and pray for them. Instead of throwing these beautiful pictures and thoughtful cards in the trash, put them in a special box or basket. Place the box/basket near your table. Throughout the year, pick a card as your family prays before a meal, and spend some time praying for the family that sent the card.
SHOW AND THANKS
Designate a particular tablecloth for your family Thanksgiving celebrations. Provide fabric markers where guests can record their “gratitudes” or special prayers for the year ahead. Ask your guests to sign and date each message, as you’ll be using the same tablecloth year after year.
THANK YOU NOTES
Set up an area with paper, pens and colors for everyone to write thank you notes to someone who has blessed them in some way this year. They can thank family members, friends, or teachers. They can also write a thank you to God. Younger children can draw pictures. Let everyone who wishes read their notes aloud during the meal.
Play a fun game with the ABC’s and thanks. Start with saying something that you are thankful for that starts with the letter “A” and go through all the letters of the alphabet. Have members take turns or have each person share a “thanks” for each letter.
HUNGRY, HUNGRY, THANK YOU’S!
Help younger children (and their parents!) anticipate giving thanks with this simple, fun game:
Gather the children or entire family together before sitting down for the meal to enjoy a game designed to emphasize why we give thanks.
If you own the game “Hungry Hungry Hippos” get it ready. If not, create your own version by placing about 20-30 marbles on a large paper plate and giving each player a spoon with which they will pick up the marbles.
As the children anticipate starting the game, pause and invite the oldest child to read I Thessalonians 5:16-18: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Afterwards ask the following questions:
Q: What is God’s will for us? A: To give thanks.
Q: Why do we give thanks? A: To experience joy.
Tell the children that one of the most important ways we fill our hunger for joy is to give thanks for the blessings God has given.
Now play several rounds of “Hungry Hungry Hippos”or “Marbles and Spoons” where the children try to gobble or pick-up as many as they can. The winner is the person who has the most balls or marbles at the end of the round.
Now, turn each child into a real “winner” by inviting them to share one thing for which they are thankful for each ball or marble they retrieved. Emphasize that the more thanks we give the more our “joy tanks” fill up! Play as many rounds as you can until the meal is served.
Memorize and Recite Together: “Giving Thanks – Fills Our Tanks”
GIVE A THANKSGIVING BLESSING
Extend the spirit of thanksgiving to others in one of these ways…
DINE IN: Consider inviting someone that might be alone or needy to share the bounty at your Thanksgiving celebration. Invite them to join your family for a meal and informal time spent playing games, doing puzzles, telling stories, singing or just hanging out together.
DELIVERY: Plan to cook double the amount of food that you need for your family. If you usually have family members make different items to bring to your feast, ask if they will double the recipe and bring in two separate dishes. Check with the church or local schools to find a family in need. Contact the family and let them know that you will be bringing them a Thanksgiving feast and arrange details for delivery. Either before or after enjoying your meal, pack up and deliver the food. Spend time praying with the family before you leave.
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