Make All of November a Month of Thanksgiving
Now that another Reformation celebration has passed, it’s time to gear up for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23, 2023. I’m sure there will be many art projects involving colorful turkeys, a Thanksgiving chapel service, and perhaps a cookies or cupcake treat day to celebrate this food-filled National Holiday in our Lutheran Schools. Here are a couple of Biblically based ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving for the entire month of November with your students that can help focus attention on giving thanks for the grace God has bestowed on us during this month and every month of our lives.
- A Psalm a Day of Thanksgiving We Say!
Have every student (3rd through 12th grade) read a Psalm to your class at the start of each school day for the month of November. Here’s a website that has 19 Psalms of thanks: https://www.countryliving.com/life/inspirational-stories/a33237483/thanksgiving-psalms/. For early childhood classes, you can read a Psalm and explain it to them in age-appropriate ways. With older children, you can have a brief discussion of what the Psalm means or even ask your students to read what their Study Bible has to say about it and report to the class when they read their Psalm.
- Sing/Listen to a Metrical Paraphrase of Psalms That Are Found in the Hymnal.
Go to pages 892-895 of the Lutheran Service Book (LSB) and you will find Thanksgiving hymns; go to the right-hand column of page 996 of the LSB’s “Topical Index of Hymns and Songs” and look for “Psalm Paraphrases.” Many of those hymns are based on Thanksgiving Psalms. Sing them and/or listen to them on the internet, e.g. “Now Thank We All Our God” (LSB 896) as sung at the Royal Albert Hall, London, England (the melody isn’t exactly the same as in the LSB, but it is close and certainly worth a listen).
- A Bible Passage to Say at the End of the Day
Here’s a website that lists 28 Bible passages about giving thanks: https://www.countryliving.com/life/g32348015/bible-verses-about-being-thankful/. Read one a day at the end of each school day and send the Bible passage and Psalm of the day home for the children to give to their parents or guardians. Families can be encouraged to read the Psalm of thanks of the day as part of their evening meal prayer and the Bible passage of the day as part of their closing prayer, or at bedtime.
- Use a Cell Phone or Video Camera to Make a Video of Thanks
Have each student in your class think of one thing they are thankful for to share on a video. Make a 3-5 second video of each child’s answer as they say: “I’m thankful for _________________!” Play the video back to the class or, better yet, make a video of every class’s answers and edit them together. Play the video before your Thanksgiving church service if you have video projection or on a monitor in the narthex before church. One-hundred five-second responses will take about 8 minutes to play.
- Have Each Class Create a Collage of Thankfulness
In response to God’s grace and bounty, have each of your classes create a “Collage of Thankfulness!” Whether they draw things they are thankful for with crayon, pencil, or watercolors, or take photographs of those people and things that God has blessed them with, every class can create its own collage. Have children think of three things they are truly thankful for and create one piece of artwork (specify a size – 8½” x 11” perhaps – or the collage might be too big to carry) that shows their “thankful things” to be submitted no later than November 20, 2023. Find some large pieces of cardboard (start hunting for the cardboard now!) on which to mount their pictures, photos, paintings, etc. If the whole school does this assignment, display the collages in your gym or in church for the Thanksgiving Day service. Be sure to take digital photos of the artwork and send an 11”x17” color copy of your class’s collage home with the children (laminate or use clear Con-Tact adhesive to make Thanksgiving dinner place mats of the collage – grandparents will love them). And don’t forget to make your own “thankfulness” art to be included in the collage! The children will be most interested in what their teacher is most thankful for, I assure you.
God bless this year’s Thanksgiving celebration as you think about creative ways to express gratitude for the rich blessings that God has given to us all.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.