Teaching and writing curriculum for elementary age children over the last twenty years has given me a bent towards the practical, I suppose. I just can’t help myself. As I read and apply Scripture to my life, I’m always thinking in terms of “What creative thing can we do to apply this principle or to make this Scripture more meaningful?” I seem to be a “how-to” person. I love connecting the abstract with the concrete so those around me can understand and appreciate God’s Words and wonders even more.
Thanksgiving is no exception! No one needs to tell us to take Thanksgiving Day more seriously, that we all need to be more thankful for what we have. Okay, but how? How can we be more thankful? What “hooks” can you use to help yourself and your family have an attitude of thankfulness for God’s goodness this season?
Here are some ideas from my article, “Keeping the Spirit of Thanksgiving,” published in the November 18, 2001 issue of The Lookout:
Spend the day at home with family and friends. Don’t allow open stores and movie theatres to distract you from the true purpose of the day.
Separate Christmas preparations from Thanksgiving celebrations. Wait until after Thanksgiving to put up Christmas decorations. This way, Thanksgiving doesn’t become swallowed up by your family’s anticipation of Christmas.
Reach beyond your home. Invite friends and strangers into your home as well as family. Invite those without family into your home such as a widow, an estranged parent, a single mom or a college student. The Pilgrims shared their day with the Indians, who were obviously outside their family circle.
Cultivate an atmosphere of Thanksgiving around your table. Place three kernels of unpopped popcorn at each placemat. Have each person name something for which they are thankful. Or, write a note of appreciation to each person and place that at the person’s place. Have your children write out Bible verses about thanksgiving and praise on cutouts of autumn leaves to place as a centerpiece.
Accentuate the spiritual. We often say we are thankful for our families and our health. Don’t stop there! Specify what great things God has done in your life, the life of your family or within your church in the last year. Then spend time thanking God together.
God is worthy of our praise every day! Let’s give Him the full measure due His glorious Name this Thanksgiving season.