Thanksgiving Day Devotional 

& Quirky Turkey Treat for Children's Ministry

Make the Quirky Turkey Treat, then continue on with the devotional.

Using a clear plastic glove used for food preparation, fill finger tips with Reese's pieces. (About 10 in the thumb and 8 in the fingers.) Fill the rest of the glove with popped popcorn and tie it off with a string. 

Gobble, Gobble it up!

Do you know why we celebrate Thanksgiving? (Receive answers)

(You may want to use this time as an opportunity to discuss some of the history of the holiday, see below).

Thanksgiving Day is the day we set aside as a nation to thank God for his goodness towards us. 

What are some things you are thankful for in your lives? (Receive answers.) 

What are some ways we can say, "Thank you" to God? (Receive answers.) 

Have you ever begged your parents for something, and when they finally gave it to you, you forgot to thank them? Today I want to read a story from the Bible that speaks about such a thing.

"Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him--and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well" (Luke 17:11-19).

In Jesus' time, leprosy was an incurable skin disease. People with leprosy were hated, feared and looked down on by other people. They couldn't live with their families or community. They were outcasts, and had to live with other lepers. It was a lonely life, a terrible way to live!

What is important about today's Bible story is that all ten people had leprosy, and they knew Jesus had the power to heal them and cried out for his help. But how many were thankful when he healed them? Yes, only one. Only one of those people took the time to come back to thank Jesus. 

The other nine understood that God is all powerful and able to heal them, yet they had thankless hearts. Let us live our lives like the one Leper who was thankful and understand that all good things come from God. The Bible says, "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless" ( Psalm 84:11). 

Jesus has done so much more than heal our bodies, he has healed our broken and sinful hearts by his sacrifice on the cross. This year as we celebrate Thanksgiving, let us remember that all good things come from God, and then thank him for his goodness!

Optional Reading: "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?...Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:32-39).

Thanksgiving Project

Make copies of a November or December calendar and have your students write specific things they are thankful for in each of the days, i.e. names of family members, friends, material possessions, etc. Then have the children take the calendars home so that each day they are reminded of God's goodness and can thank him for their blessings! Also see our Pilgrim and Indian Finger Puppets.

Thanksgiving Day History*

Thanksgiving Day was first celebrated in early colonial times in New England. After the first harvest was completed by the Plymouth colonists in 1621, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer. This day was celebrated by all the colonists and neighboring Native Americans. In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating thanksgiving after the harvest. During the American Revolution, a yearly day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving, and since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, generally designating the fourth Thursday of November as a holiday.

(Ref. Encarta Encyclopedia)

Thanksgiving Craft, Pilgrims and Indians

*Children can use our Pilgrim and Indian finger puppets to act out the first Thanksgiving story as it is told to them.

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