Intentional ‘Thanks’giving

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In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 

Lead your children (by example) to be intentional with giving thanks to God and to others, especially at this time of year called ‘Thanks’giving!  

Here are some questions taken from Dee Brestin Ministries to ask around your Thanksgiving table to help promote thankfulness:

  • What can you be thankful for this year that you couldn’t have been last year?
  • Lift up the name of each person and have two to four people share one reason they are thankful for that person.
  • Is there a way that God met you in a challenging time this year? If so, how?
  • Did you receive an unexpected kindness this year?
  • Is there a Scripture passage that became more meaningful to you this year – if so, what is it, and how did it help you?
  • Is there something a little child said that delighted you?
  • Was there wisdom received from a book, a mentor, or a sermon?
  • Was there a time when circumstances lined up so you knew God was behind it?
  • God said He would shake our world so that what was unshakeable would remain – give thanks for one of those unshakeable realities.

Here are some previous posts with ideas to lead your children to be thankful:

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – The First Thanksgiving

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – A ‘Thank You God’ List

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Psalm 100 

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Songs

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – A Thankful Walk

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Express Thanks to Others

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Bible Stories

Thanksgiving Ideas

I want to intentionally say ‘thank you’ to each of you who read this blog.  And thank you for your desire to train your children in God’s Word.

HAPPY ‘THANKS’GIVING!!

 

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Positive Effects of Thankfulness

How’s your thank you list going?  Regularly writing down what you are thankful for can increase your level of happiness by at least 25%.   I have always believed that an attitude of gratitude is vital to your happiness and your health because of what Scripture indicates. Proverbs 17:22 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” is just one example.

However, Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier offers scientific evidence of this and that a grateful spirit actually improves your health: “The person who experiences gratitude is able to cope more effectively with everyday stress  . . . recover more quickly from illness, and benefit from greater physical health.”   I haven’t read the book yet, but I am always thrilled when scientists discover the reality of what Scripture has always said.  Read more of the research results here.

I read Choosing Gratitude: Your Journey to Joy two years ago as I was going through a difficult time in my life.   The book was a fresh reminder to concentrate on being thankful, which did tremendously help me cope with my circumstances at the time.   God doesn’t just tell us to do something for no reason.  He has our best interest in mind when He says, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thes. 5:18

Let’s teach our children early to have an attitude of gratitude, not just at Thanksgiving and not so we look good when they utter an unsolicited thank you to others, but so that throughout their lives they will experience all the positive effects of thankfulness that God intends for them.

 

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Telling Others Thank You

 

God deserves all our praise and thanksgiving, but He also wants us to have a grateful spirit toward others. God says in Matthew 25:40 that when we do something for others, it is like doing it for Him.  So lets use this Thanksgiving season to not only deliberately express thanks to God, but also to show gratefulness to those He has placed in our lives.

Everyone needs to feel appreciated. Tell others how thankful you are for them, what they do, their attitude, their smile, their words, etc.

Make thank you notes for people in your life that you don’t normally think of thanking, such as the mailman, doctor, teacher, grandparent, the men who pick up the trash, your waiter, the paint mixer at Lowe’s, the UPS delivery man, your children, your spouse.

Be specific and creative.  Lead the whole family to participate in making cards or expressing thanks in some way.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”- William Arthur Ward.

 

Keeping Thanks in Thanksgiving – Write down your blessings!

About the 1st of November, I always put a large piece of paper on the refrigerator with the words, “Thank you God for” at the top.  Family members are encouraged to regularly write down something they are thankful for.  This has been a tradition for many years in our home. We enjoy writing our own and reading what the rest of the family has written.

This year since we are all separated, we set up a Thanksgiving GroupMe account  for group messages just for our family.  If you are separated from your family, you might consider the same thing. We love reading what our children are thankful for and seeing them interact with each other on this account.

It is encouraging to see a lot of giving of thanks on Facebook this year.  Writing down your blessings can really change your outlook.   As the old hymn by Johnson Oatman says, “Count your many blessings; name them one by one; and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

 

Gratefulness

(This is another lesson from Here a Little, There a Little, a compilation of Bible activities I created to use with my preschool children. It was designed to spend a week memorizing the verse and reinforcing it through Bible lessons and activities.)

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” (William Arthur Ward)  Share this quote with your children and teach them that since everything comes from God, we need to express thanks to Him for everything.  We should also express thanks to those God leads to give to us.

Gratefulness

Bible Verse: James 1:17  Every good present and every perfect gift comes from above, from the Father who made the sun, moon, and stars.

Bible Stories:

1. Psalm 127:3 The Bible says that children are a gift from the Lord.  Every good gift comes from God. God gave Mom & Dad a very special gift (age of your child) ago.  We are so thankful God gave us the special, special gift.  Do you know what that gift was? – It was (child’s name)!

2. Psalm 68:19 Praise God who daily loads us with benefits The Bible says God daily loads us up with blessings.  Blessings are anything God gives us just because He loves us.  Can you name something God gives us every day? (Jesus, food, sleep, sunshine, happy times, smiles, hugs, water, love, friends, air to breath, etc)

3. Genesis 1 In the beginning of the world God made everything.  He made the animals, trees, blue sky, water, stars, sun, clouds, birds, plants, etc.  After He made His beautiful world, He made Adam and Eve.  He gave all He had made to them to enjoy.  God also gives all He has made to us to enjoy.  Thank you God, for your good gift of your beautiful world.

4. Philippians 4:10-19 Paul had need of something.  He was locked up in jail for preaching about Jesus.  The people in the church in the city called Philippi decided to send some gifts to Paul.  They loved him and wanted to help him.  Paul knew that it was God who had helped them to give the gift.   Paul knew that every good gift comes from God.

5. Philippians 1:1-5 Paul wrote a thank you letter to his friends in Philippi while he was in prison.  He told them that he thanked God for them every time he thought of them.  His friends cared about him and Paul was grateful for their friendship.  He knew they were a gift from God to him.  We need to thank God for our friends and those who help us.  We need to tell others we are thankful for them.

Prayer: Thank you God for all the gifts you have given us.  Help us to always be thankful to you and to others.

Activities:

1. Look at baby pictures  and express your gratefulness to God for giving you your children.

2. Cut out pictures of things that God gives us.  Put them in a a ‘thankful box’ and pull them out regularly and thank God for them

3. Play out in God’s beautiful world and sing one of these thankful songs.

4. Find or draw a picture of Paul in jail and talk about what gifts God might have led his friends to send him.  Do you know of someone that has a need that God could be leading your family to give to like the Philippians gave to Paul?

5. Train your children even now to always be quick to thank those who give to them.  This should also be those who give of their time to them. Help them write a thank you, complete with art work, to someone God has used to bless them (grandparent, pastor, s/s teacher, waitress, sales clerk, doctor, mailman, etc).