Every autumn, most of my junior church class sessions are taken up with practicing for our Christmas program. This year, we are rehearsing for our own little version of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Besides practicing, we have spent our November Sundays together focusing on thanksgiving and gratitude. I recently heard that while gratitude is an attitude, thanksgiving is an action. While feeling gratitude is wonderful, it should also be expressed with an act of thanksgiving.
And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. – Luke 17:15,16
To teach this idea to the kids, Shae and I had our students share things for which they were thankful. These were some of their responses.
I’m thankful for…
…everyone who came to church today.
…for people’s encouragement, because I have to sing alone at school, and I’m nervous!
…our flag, and the Bible.
…our military, because tomorrow is Veteran’s Day!
…my aunt’s hot cocoa after being outside in the cold for a long time. She gives it to us with peppermint straws!
…makeup (from a 10-year-old girl).
…my cat and my mom (from a 5-year-old girl).
Next, we had the children put gratitude into action. We asked them to write thank-you notes to our pastor – a kind, patient, selfless servant who drives several of the children from their homes to church each week and visits their families.
The children wrote to our pastor what they loved and appreciated about him, and each took extra time to decorate the envelopes with hearts, flowers, drawings of the church, and even portraits of him. These notes touched him so deeply that he plans to read them from the pulpit soon.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy. – Philippians 1:3, 4
How do you put your gratitude into an act of Thanksgiving?