I have been reflecting on how the world seems to leave Thanksgiving behind, with the manic energy of Halloween skipping right to 24/7 carols about snowmen and reindeer. To counteract this trend, my family and I have been working on thankfulness in the 30 days between Halloween and December 1. We are calling it #thirtydaysofthankfulness and it shows up in a concrete way on our picture window:

Each night at supper, we each take turns saying something new that we are thankful for that day. It doesn’t happen every day, and we put up all the leaves at once so that it felt more like a celebration than a failed obligation. I am hoping that our Thanksgiving Day prayers will be much more full because of this practice, and I have noticed that it is helping to expand my own thinking about naming blessings in the ordinary and every day.

We have also been singing our thanks in the evenings. Depending on your singers, you can have one leader who gathers all of the thanks in advance, or each person can lead their own verse. Here is an example of how to do this:

May your Thanksgiving celebrations be blessed, this year and always.

In Christ, Pastor Breen

Thanksgiving 2017: Psalm 118

Each year at our family Thanksgiving meal, we try to do some kind of activity that reminds us that we give thanks, not just in general, but also specifically to God.  This year, we will do this through an art project for the picture window in dining room.

A few weeks ago, I introduced the idea of giving thanks to my kids with a craft I found at Michael’s:


We hung them on the inside of our picture window, facing out, along with some leaf stickers on waxed paper.  The kids couldn’t wait to take a picture:


They have been so excited to share their art installation that I thought we would include our family members who are joining us for Thanksgiving.  Before dinner, each person will get a stack of paper leaves:


Here is the file to print the leaves out:  Leaves for Thanksgiving 2017
I printed them on card stock in “Spice Market” colors.

Everyone will also get something to write with, and the instructions to write what they are thankful for, one thing on each leaf.  While they work, I will play this song from Psalm 118 for inspiration:

When it is time for the meal, we will take turns going around the table and saying what is on our leaves, with the rest of the family responding “Thanks be to God.”  The kids will use gift wrapping tape to secure the leaves to the window as we pray.  We will conclude our prayers with a “repeat-after-me” version of this prayer:

Thanksgiving Prayer for Harvest Time
Loving God, all that we have
comes from your goodness
and the work of those who love us.
Bless us and the food we share.
Watch over those who care for us.
Open our eyes to the needs of the poor
during this time of
harvest and thanksgiving.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
(Elizabeth McMahon Jeep, Blessings and Prayers through the Year, Liturgy Training Publications 2004)

May God bless you and your family as we celebrate!  May it be a holy time for you.