In the midst of kids going back to school, working, problems and the stresses of life – good and bad, have you stopped recently to say thanks? I don’t mean just a quickly uttered thanks when someone does something for you, but a heartfelt thanks for all the good things that you have or for the ways God and others have helped you? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself lately. I am making the attempt to lay aside the problems, the stresses, the “To Do’s” for a moment to focus on what I do have instead of what I don’t have. In the midst of my pondering, I am finding that at the heart of all my blessings, God is there.
Complaining, stressing and thankfulness are really closer together than we think they are. Often, it’s a matter of perspective or altitude. That’s right, I said altitude! Are we rising above the clouds or sinking below? I
don’t fly often, but I have flown and I love it. I have been at the airport when the sky was gray and dreary; then after boarding the plane and taking off, the plane rises above the clouds and the whole perspective changes. Instead of the gray seen on the ground, I see the beauty of the clouds and I see the glorious light shining through. That’s exactly what happens when I welcome God’s presence into my life. When I welcome Him and allow Him to pilot my plane, I rise above the clouds and the things which seemed so gray on the ground become beautiful as the light of His love shines through. When I try to fly the plane myself, I often find that I am madly taxiing around on the runway, but never quite able to lift off the ground.
Oh, I want to see things from God’s eternal perspective! I have so much to be thankful for. I have family and friends. I have a home and a car. Most of all, I have God’s amazing grace poured out towards me, strengthening me and giving me the courage to be who He wants me to be. I am so incredibly blessed! That traffic jam – who cares? I’m praising God in my car. That friend who has been sick, I do care, but I have a God who delights in answering prayer and surrounding us with His love. The extra money that I needed when I had an unexpected emergency – ouch, I didn’t like having to spend it, still God reminded me that He is the one that provides for me everyday. It is so much better to live life thankful.
One place that I like to go when I feel thankful is church. Like King Solomon and the people who celebrated when the temple was completed, I can celebrate at my church with many friends as part of the family of God. I can praise and thank God for my church and rejoice with others in their answered prayers. Thanksgiving is meant to be shared too. Let’s thank God more than once a year. Let’s cultivate a spirit of thankfulness all year long. Join me in a resounding shout of praise. Thank you God!
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
I am so glad that you don’t give up on me when I forget to look up. Thank you for your continual nudge to look up, to rise above the clouds and to look from your perspective not my own. I have so much to be thankful for and I stop right now to simply tell you thanks. Thank you for my friends and my family. Thank you for the kids in my life that are a continual reminder that life is meant to be lived to the fullest. Thank you for loving me and giving me people who are patient with me even when I don’t deserve it. Thank you for your provision, your strength, your grace and mercy and your forgiveness. You are my God and my friend. Amen
- Don’t limit saying thanks to your interactions as you are out and about. Start at home. Find something to be thankful for everyday.
- Write a note, e-mail or text to your child, your hubby, a friend or colleague just to say thanks! You just might make their day.
- Look someone eyeball to eyeball to say, “Thank you!” It takes pausing a moment to make eye contact, but pausing says that you genuinely do appreciate the other person. If it’s a child, get down on his/her level.
- Don’t forget to say, “Thank you!” to God. He is the giver of all good things.
HELPING OUR KIDS REMEMBER TO SAY THANKS
- A quick reminder, “What’s the magic word?” can help or “What do you say?” Mimicking the words your child should say helps with young children too. EX: “Thank you mommy for the snack! You’re welcome.”
- When we acknowledge the kindness of others, we are also acknowledging the kindness of God who created all people.
- Read some fun books about good manners such as:
“Do Unto Otters” by Laurie Kelle
“The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners” by Stan & Jan Berenstain“Curious George Says Thank You” by Margaret & H. A, Rey
- Praise him/her when you hear them saying, “Thank you!” . Let your child know how proud you are of him or her.
SHARE A STORY: King Solomon Builds The Temple – 1 Kings 8:62-66
When the temple church was finished, King Solomon and the people of Israel gathered together to dedicate the temple to God. King Solomon prayed. (Show praying hands.) Then fire came from heaven and burned up the sacrifices King Solomon and the people brought to worship God. (Wave arms.) The people were so happy to have a place to come and worship God. They thanked God and welcomed His presence with them in the temple they built for Him.
We can welcome God’s presence into our room too. “God, Thank you that you are here with us. We love and welcome you. Amen”
The people sang, “The Lord is good. His love will last forever.” (Say in a singsong voice. Give self a hug.) The Levites or worship leaders played instruments. It was a wonderful time thanking and praising God. It was like a big party or celebration for God. They ate together and enjoyed spending time with God. The people stayed at the temple church for 2 weeks! Wow! That was a long party! Then King Solomon told the people to go home. The people thanked the king and went home happy.
They were happy because of all the good things that God had done. They were happy that they had a temple church to worship in.You can celebrate and say thank you to God too. You can thank God for your church. You can thank God that He made you and that He loves you. You can thank God for Jesus. Stopping to say thank you to God is a wise choice. Taking time to use our kind words and say thank you to others is a good thing to do too. Let’s remember to stop and say thank you to God, to our teachers, parents and others who help us this week.
Thank you for my church where I can learn about you. Thank you for making me and loving me. Help me remember to stop and say thank you to you everyday and also to use my kind words to say thank you to others who help me. You are amazing God. You do good things and I know your love lasts forever. I love you. Amen
MEMORIZE: Prov. 8:10 NIrV – (Hands open like holding a book.)
(God says – implied) – (Point up.)
Choose my teaching – (Clap hands.)
Instead of silver – (Rub fingers together.)
KNOW: Giving thanks is a wise choice. I can celebrate and be thankful.
TALK ABOUT: What I can thank God for.
ASK: Who made you? God made you. God made me to give thanks.
AND DO: Stop & say thank you.
FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK
- Take pictures of some things you are thankful for. Print the pictures and put them in a book for your child to look through. As you look through them together say, “Thank you God for __.”
- Don’t forget to say thank you to others. Using thankful, kind and courteous words can go a long ways towards building friendships and gaining wisdom.