One such meaningful tradition is the preparation of two Thanksgiving dinners. Get the whole family involved with cooking a holiday meal the day before Thanksgiving. Package and deliver food to a needy family on Thanksgiving Eve. Think members of your church family who are sick, recently lost a loved one or lost their job. Benevolent actions such as this is an auspicious way to show gratitude for what you have.
Unfortunately, traumas and illness don’t take holidays. If you know someone who is in the hospital over the Thanksgivingholidays, express your gratitude to the underappreciated nursing staff with a nice fruit and cheese tray. Sign the card from the patient’s family. God smiles at your unselfish acts of kindness.
Step Up to the Plate
Serving a meal at a “soup kitchen” is typically the first thought when people decide to volunteer on Thanksgiving Day. That’s all good. But, there are almost as many volunteers on Thanksgiving and Christmas as there are hungry people at shelters. A better plan is to volunteer your services one day a month.
Have you considered volunteering at an animal shelter instead? Or, if you are near a Hope Center, volunteer to field phone calls, do data entry or simply donate a turkey. Help deliver Salvation Army food boxes or Meals on Wheels.
Open your Heart and Home
For people who live alone, holidays are the loneliest time of year. Put your Big Heart on and invite someone (or two), who would otherwise eat a frozen turkey dinner by themselves.
Military families are a prime example. If you know a service member and/or his/her family, invite them to eat Thanksgiving dinner with you and your family.
Take a silent moment of gratitude that God provided plenty of resources to share with others.
Let the Blessings Be
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Does anything in this Bible Verse reach out and touch your soul? God wants us to give thanks all the time, not just onThanksgiving. How about beginning a new family tradition of giving thanks “in all circumstances”?
Start a Blessings Book. Buy a blank book, with a pretty cover and put it in a central place – table in hall, coffee table, etc. Family members will write things they are thankful for during the week. One evening after dinner, have a family round table and discuss each item.
Pass the Blessings Jar – Label a mason jar with “Gratitude for the Blessings”. Write topics on slips of paper, fold and drop in the jar. After Thanksgiving dinner, pass the blessings jar and let each person draw a topic.
- How a certain book inspired me to… this year.
- How God recently answered one of my big prayers.
- I’m grateful that I learned — this year.
- I appreciate (person) for … this year.
Final Thoughts: Become a living example of thanksgiving by letting gratitude for what God has done, spill over into the lives of others. Keep the gratitude and giving spirit alive all year long.