By Contributing Writer, Chelsey Hall
Turkey, pumpkin pie, fellowship and football. These are the things that immediately come to mind when someone says the word “Thanksgiving”. These are my childhood memories. As I’ve gotten older though, and had children of my own to make memories with, I’ve wanted more. More than just the food and the football. More than just getting together with friends and family.
We celebrate the birth of Christ at Christmas, and in the spring we remember His sacrifice on the cross and celebrate the miracle of the resurrection. In fact, often times we spend days, even weeks during these times remembering and focusing on these pivotal events in Christendom. And, while Thanksgiving isn’t directly related to a Biblical Event, it is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the gratitude and graces that we’ve been given through Christ.
So what can we do during this time of year to change our hearts, to make them more Christ-centered and focused on blessing?
Take some time to really focus on the “why” of celebrating Thanksgiving.
Delve into the stories, the people, and the history.
- There are some great, easy, simple and cost effective unit studies you could do as a family. Currclick is a great resource for this and most everything there is available in downloadable e-book format.
- Look for books rich in history that stays true to the “real” story. Vision Forum has a wonderful Thanksgiving Package that includes great resources such as Of Plymouth Plantations and The Thanksgiving Primary.
Use the month of November to focus on gratitude.
Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1
There are so many ways to focus on the gifts, the graces, and the blessings that the Father is brushing our lives with.
- Focus on Scripture: Each day find one Scripture on gratitude, read it, say it out loud together as a family, write it down and have the children color a picture to go with it. Hang them up and create a Scripture wall that you can focus on during the month
- Focus on Prayer: Together, as a family, come up with a list of 30 people that you can pray prayers of thanksgiving over. Write them down on note cards and place them in a basket. Each morning or night, draw a name out of the basket (or a cornucopia representing the traditions of the Holiday) and spend some time lifting that person up to the Lord.
- Focus on Blessings: Each day, have everyone in the family write down one or two things he/she is thankful for. You can do this in a journal or make it more visible and create a wall of blessings.
- Focus on Family: Write letters of blessings to one another. For larger families, put all the names in a hat and have everyone draw. For those that are not old enough to write, they can draw a picture or just express gratitude with their words.
Make Thanksgiving Day a celebration and culmination of all you’ve done through the month to focus on the graces of Christ.
- Dress in costume and put on a play about what you’ve studied and learned during the month and share the projects, art works or essays done during unit studies.
- Pick a few of the scriptures hanging on your walls to read through and talk about
- Read through the names of the people you’ve been daily praying for
- Share the blessings that everyone has written down in the gratitude journal or blessings wall
- Read your letters that you’ve written to one another and share in a time of uplifting each other
- And of course, enjoy the traditions of good fun, family and maybe even a little football!
What things do you do to focus your hearts and minds on the gratitude and graces of Christ during this season of Thanksgiving?