“Thus says the LORD:
Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on its mound,
and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be small. (Jeremiah 30:18–19, ESV)
My son, Andy had the privilege of preaching at his church this past Sunday. Of course, as a dad, I was so proud and super thankful for the grace of God to use him for the cause of Christ. But what caught my attention was his sharing with the congregation that Thanksgiving was his favorite holiday, as he also loathed the way Christmas had kind of over taken it. But today we pause from the busyness of life, for most of us we are spending the day with family and enjoying a big meal. And I am sure most of us pause to do an exercise in thanks giving. Yet, there really is a way of talking about being thankful without actually giving thanks. It goes something like this, someone at the table tells everyone else to share one thing for which they are thankful, then one by one, starting with the extroverts everyone shares. Then it is on to turkey, stuffing, mac & cheese, and pumpkin pie. But notice something, stating what you are thankful for is actually a bit different from honestly giving thanks. To give thanks you actually have to acknowledge the giver of the gifts for which you are thankful and express thanks to Him.
So I wanted to write a quick exercise you can do with your family around your meal today which will both give people opportunity to share and then roll those things up in actual thanksgiving and praise to Christ.
Scripture – have someone read the text above from Jeremiah 30:18-19
*Someone share briefly the difference between stating what we are thankful for and actually giving thanks to God for the gifts He has given.
Prayer questions – ask these three questions, put in the form of a prayer statement
- Our family is such a blessing, so this year I thank you for __________________
- In the past year I have reached this milestone or accomplishment, or have had this happen for me, and Jesus, you were the One who saw me through.
- Right now the greatest spiritual blessing in my life is this, and I am so thankful.
Close with two or three short prayers of thanksgiving for all the blessings God has provided you and your family, and for the amazing turkey and ham sitting before you.