Thanksgiving

By Karla Schettenhelm
Thanksgiving is for giving thanks!  
Thanksgiving reminds us one day a year that we should be thankful for all that God has given us.  But of course we should be thankful every day.  God has blessed us in so many ways – Jesus, family, friends, homes, food, health and on and on and on.  Even when times are hard, like in our current pandemic, we can still find many reasons to give thanks. 
This blog gives some Bible verses to reflect on, some activities and crafts to express thankfulness, some music to give thanks and praise to God, and some Thanksgiving prayers.
Bible verses about giving thanks to God
  • 1 Chronicles 16:8 - Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.
  • 1 Chronicles 29:13 - Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
  • Psalm 7:17 - I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.
  • Psalm 50:14 - Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High
  •  Psalm 69:30 - I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.
  •  Psalm 92:1 - It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High 
  • Psalm 95:2 - Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song
  • Psalm 100:4 - Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
  • Psalm 107:1 - Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his love endures forever.
  • Psalm 116:12 - What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?
  • Psalm 118:28 - You are my God, and I will praise you; you are my God, and I will exalt you. 
  • 1 Corinthians 15:57 - But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • 2 Corinthian 9:15 - Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
  • Ephesians 5:20 - always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Philippians 4:6 - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
  • Colossians 3:15 - Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
  • Colossians 3:17 - And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
  • Colossians 4:2 - Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 - Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
  • 1 Timothy 4:4 - For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving
  • Hebrews 12:28 - Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe

Watch

This video is generally for kids – there is a puppet doing the presentation.  However the ideas are good for all ages!

Thankfulness Activities

There are many activities that can be done to count our blessings and visually show our thankfulness.  A lot of people spend the month of November doing a “thankful” activity.  Just because the month of November is coming to an end, we do not have to, nor should we, stop thinking about being thankful to God.  The seasonal activities below can all be altered for the next season or for the whole year.  Thanksgiving could be a good time to begin one of these activities.
A Thankful Tree
In the fall, make a tee and lots of fall colored leaves.  Every day each family member thinks of something they are thankful for and writes or draws it on a leaf. The leaves are added to the tree daily.  The tree can be made out of paper, it can be 3D made from sticks, or it could be a real tree or plant.  This can be altered for winter by putting the things you are thankful for on snowflakes; in the spring, flower blossoms can be used, and in the summer, green leaves or apples.
This blog describes how to make a 3D thankful tree and use it for a Thanksgiving decoration, The Thankful Tree: Thanksgiving DIY
A Blessing Jar
Throughout a month or a year, write blessings on paper and put them in a jar.  Remember to thank God for these things when you put them in the jar.  To begin the new month or new year, dump the jar, read your blessings, and thank God again for all He’s done for you!
One example is here, Blessings Jar: How to Start One in Your Family
A Thankful Garland
Use a rope or some wide ribbon; write things you are thankful for each day on paper; connect them to the rope with ribbon or clothespins.  Add other ribbon or scraps of material to decorate the garland.  Hang the garland around a room, on a mantle, etc.  For Christmas hang a thankful garland on your Christmas tree.
Here’s a blog about one Thankfulness Garland, Our Thankfulness Garland

Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts

Decorate a harvest cross.
Cut a cross shape out of cardboard, foam, or other sturdy material.  Decorate the cross with popcorn kernels, dried beans, dried peas, etc.  Fill the cross shape completely or make a design with the items on the cross.
With leftover beans, etc. from the cross, make decorative candles for your Thanksgiving table
A thankful turkey
Make a turkey – cut paper into turkey and feather shapes, use a handprint, use a lunchbag, etc. Write things you thank God for on the turkey feathers!

Songs

Many verses in the Bible talk about giving thanks to God through music and song.  Below are some songs to help us give praise and thanks to God. 
Songs are ordered from those appropriate for small children to those for older children, youth, and adults
Thank you (Toddler Worship – Saddleback Kids)
Psalm 106:1  (The Corner Room)
Thankful  (Roar VBS)
We Thank You (Saddleback Kids)
Thank You (Hillsong Worship)

Thanksgiving Prayers

A Child’s Thanksgiving Prayer
Thank you God for all that grows.  Thank you for the sky’s rainbows.
Thank you for the stars that shine.  Thank you for these friends of mine.
Thank you for the moon and sun.  Thank you God for all you’ve done!

A Child’s Prayer of Thanks
Dear God,
I’m thankful for all you give: for food, for love, a place to live.
I thank you for my family too, and I want you to know that I love you. 
Amen.

A Thank You poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson
For flowers that bloom about our feet, Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet, Father we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee, for all thigs fair we hear or see, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For blue of stream and blue of sky, Father, we thank Thee.
For pleasant shade of branches high, Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze, for beauty of the blooming trees, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.
For this new morning with its light, Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night, Father, we thank Thee.
For health and food, for love and friends, for everything Thy goodness sends, Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

Thanksgiving Prayer
Heavenly Father, on Thanksgiving Day we bow our hearts to You and pray.
We give You thanks for all You’ve done especially for the gift of Jesus, Your Son.
For beauty in nature, Your glory we see, for joy and health, friends and family.
For daily provision, Your mercy and care, these are the blessings You graciously share.
So today we offer this response of praise with a promise to follow You all of our days.

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