Several years ago when my children were much younger, the kids and I traveled with my husband to an appointment. We were going to stay in the car, and afterward we would have some family time. Sounded fun. The appointment was taking longer than expected, and the kids were getting restless. When they started complaining that it was too long, I started to think of positive things to say about our “situation.” Matthew wasn’t buying it. So I told Matt he needed to start thinking of things he could be thankful for, and I wasn’t kidding. He responded by saying he was thankful for dirt, bugs, and snakes (he knew I didn’t like those things). But he kept going, and pretty soon his spirit changed. He began to be thankful for family, salvation, friends, toys and church to name a few.
We are blessed beyond what we deserve, yet we expect more and thank less. Among the most important words we can speak are the two words, “Thank you.” The Bible tells us it is good to give thanks, “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High” (Psalm 92:1). So through this holiday season, let’s do a “good thing” and give thanks!
1. Blessing Basket
Prepare a basket containing paper and pens. Throughout the month encourage family members to write down what they are thankful for in their life. Then on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day, read them all together and give God thanks!
2. Thank You Chart
Make a chart with each family member’s name. Every time someone is “thanked,” they put a sticker next to the person’s name who thanked them.
3. Thanksgiving Chain
Have strips of construction paper and tape available. Family members write down what they are thankful for on strips of paper and tape them together to make a chain. See how long your chain gets before Christmas Day.
4. Sing Praises to the Lord
Sing songs with the word “thank” or “thanksgiving” in them (Psalm 100:1–6).
5. Thankful in All Things
Tell stories of people who have expressed gratitude in unwanted circumstances. For example, Corrie Ten Boom was thankful for fleas that infested her barracks, and later realized it was the fleas that kept the guards away.
6. ABCs of Thanksgiving
Using the alphabet, go around the room and the first person says what he is thankful for, beginning with the letter A. Continue with the next person saying what they are thankful for beginning with the next letter of the alphabet.
7. Journal It
Provide every family member a blank journal. Pass the journal around the room, and let everyone write a note to the journal’s owner expressing thanks for that person. Continue to pass the journal around until everyone has had the opportunity to write in it.
8. Place Setting
Prepare an “assignment” on a leaf for each person to complete at the table. For example: pray for the meal, share a Thanksgiving memory, read Psalm 100, share a testimony, etc.
9. Tree-Mendously Thankful
Make a large paper Christmas tree. Mount the tree, and put paper ornaments nearby. Family members can write things they are thankful for on the ornaments and place them on the tree.
10. Scripture Round Robin
Go around the room and have each family member quote or read a verse about giving thanks.