Thanksgiving is generally considered to be a family holiday by the majority of Americans. It has roots in American history and is often an occasion that brings family members and friends together for a special meal. For Christians, thanksgiving takes on an additional role, that of cultivating an attitude of thankfulness to God. Here are nine ways you or your family can observe Thanksgiving this year.
1. Write “thank you” cards to important individuals in your life. These could be former teachers, coaches, mentors, or family members and friends that have had a significant impact on your life.
2. Invite individuals at the Thanksgiving table to reflect on some of the things they are most thankful for in their lives.
3. Read a Bible passage before the main meal of the day. A good passage to read on Thanksgiving is one of the accounts of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand (John 6:1-13, Matthew 4:13-21, Mark 6:32-44, Luke 9:10-17).
4. Pray before the meal. The “head” of the house can do this for all or each person present at the table can pray aloud for one thing they are thankful for (e.g. I’m thankful for my family).
5. Help someone else. One way that we show God thanks for all the blessings we have is by serving others who are not so fortunate. This could involve helping an elderly neighbor with a project or serving at a local soup kitchen.
6. Invite individuals and families to join you for Thanksgiving who would otherwise be alone.
7. After supper (and perhaps after the game!) gather the family together and have someone recite or read the story of the first thanksgiving.
8. Attend a Thanksgiving service at your local church. Often churches join together to offer an ecumenical Thanksgiving service.
9. Go on a thankfulness walk. After the big meal take a walk with family and friends and either discuss things that you are thankful for (e.g. I’m thankful I can walk) or point out things that you are thankful for (e.g. I’m thankful for that bird).