Luke 17:11-19 records an encounter that Jesus had with ten lepers. They asked Jesus to have mercy upon them, and He did! As the lepers were going to the priests, they were cleansed. Their body and skin experienced healing, and they were made whole and new physically. However, despite this great act of kindness and abundant grace by Jesus, only one leper returned to Him to give Him thanks. “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Are you like the one leper giving thanks, or are you like the nine who experienced God’s goodness but didn’t recognize it?
The lepers received the blessing of restored health and then should have given thanks. But today, there are many studies that show how giving thanks can lead to better health. Giving thanks may make you happier, lead to better brain function, improve sleep, increase energy levels, and foster better relationships. Beyond this, though, God desires us to express our gratefulness to Him because He is worthy of our thanks.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Then in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. And today, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of that month. It is a day to pause and remember how God has been loving, gracious, merciful, good, and faithful to us.
While we should have an “attitude of gratitude” throughout the year, and we should be “humbly grateful” instead of “grumbly hateful” in all seasons, here are a few suggestions to help you give thanks on November 24, 2022. (However, these ideas can work with you and your family on the other 364 days of the year, too.)
Read Scripture together.
The Psalms are full of verses about giving thanks. You could have each family member read a verse before you enjoy your Thanksgiving meal together, and you could give thanks for who God is.
- Psalm 9:1
- Psalm 30:4
- Psalm 44:8
- Psalm 57:9
- Psalm 75:1
- Psalm 86:12
- Psalm 92:1-2
- Psalm 100:4
- Psalm 105:1
- Psalm 111:1
- Psalm 118:1, 28
- Psalm 136:1-3
- Psalm 145:10
This year at Thanksgiving, turn your tablecloth into a canvas of gratitude. Each person could draw a picture of something they are thankful for, or they could write out words all over the tablecloth. They could also trace their hand in order to make a “turkey.” On each of the “feathers,” list the things you appreciate. Then set the table and enjoy food and family memories.
This last idea probably needs to be done away from the dinner table and in a “safe” spot inside the home or somewhere outdoors. (Learn from others’ experiences and save yourself some trouble!) Name a category of thanksgiving from the list below and toss a ball to a family member. Whoever has the ball shares something they are thankful for and then tosses (not hurls, throws a fastball, rifles) the ball to someone else who does the same thing. After sharing, give thanks to God for all these blessings.
- Health and body
- Trips you have taken
- Various kinds of food
- Things in your home
Don’t be too busy eating, traveling, watching sports, and talking with family and friends that you neglect to “return” to Jesus and tell Him thanks this November 24. Use this day as a springboard to a thankful life where you can modify the Doxology and sing it with great appreciation and admiration.
[Thank] God from whom all blessings flow
[Thank] Him, all creatures here below
[Thank] Him above, ye heavenly host
[Thank] Father, Son, and Holy Ghost