Let’s be honest. Thanksgiving prayers and sharing can become a bit routine over the years. Sometimes, it may seem the thanks to God are standing in the way of all of that good food you are about to enjoy. You may also have people at your table whom you haven’t seen in months or not know well at all. Why not switch things up a bit and make the mealtime conversation a prayer of sorts to God and have fun reconnecting in the process?
You can start with the normal prayer for the meal. Instead of ending the prayer, have the person leading it pray that the entire mealtime conversation is a continuation of this prayer as you thank Him for the many gifts you may have even forgotten to thank Him for during the year.
Then ask diners to share their thankful answers to the following questions (or add your own):
We finally had our first crisp Fall day here. The leaves are beginning to show a hint of color. The plants are looking a little weary and ready for their winter rest. The stores are filling with items from the Fall harvest – apples, pumpkins, nuts and fresh cranberries.
The Fall harvest is a great time to teach your kids some important godly lessons and have fun at the same time. So grab your kids and head to the nearest farm, orchard or farmer’s market, and share these important lessons from God as you enjoy God’s bountiful harvest and beautiful weather.
What have you taught your kids about prejudice? Maybe you read them James 2:1-4. Perhaps you have told them all people are equal in the eyes of God. If you are really intentional, you may have had discussions about how they are to treat everyone with love – no matter who they are.
If you asked your kids how they would react if they came across people treating someone with prejudice, they would probably tell you all of the absolutely correct things they would do. Studies have shown though, when placed in a real life situation, hardly anyone reacts in the godly ways they claim they would. Most sit quietly by without saying or doing anything.
There are some concrete things you can do with your kids to improve the chances your children will treat everyone equally. You can raise kids who are the few who actually do what they think they will do when around others treating those who are different from them poorly. Your children can learn to serve and share their faith with others with the same godly empathy and love Jesus modeled for us.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your children treat everyone the way God expects from us. Here are a few of my favorites:
Abraham entertaining angels “unaware” was one of my favorite Bible stories as a child. The idea of being hospitable and accidentally entertaining angels, captured my imagination. Growing up, I can barely remember a meal when just our immediate family was dining at the table. It seemed we had a constant stream of people eating with us and even spending the night.
Modern society has almost killed hospitality. For a variety of reasons, it seems the only time people are in our homes is if we are throwing some sort of party or event. If you are introverted or a nervous hostess, formal events can seem so overwhelming, you probably never have people in your home at all.
I love the story of Abraham entertaining angels in the Bible. As a child, I was fascinated by the idea you could invite strangers into your home for a meal and find out they were angels. Unfortunately, entertaining is quickly becoming another casualty of our busy lives. Our children are not learning how to show hospitality to others. Having people in our homes is not necessarily high on our lists of things we attempt to accomplish as we pursue a Christian lifestyle. Hospitality to others is so important to God though, He makes the practice of it one of the qualifications for being an elder.
Children learn so much when they grow up in a family where hospitality is practiced regularly. They learn how to make “outsiders” to their family feel as if they are a part of the family. Hopefully, they begin to realize entertaining is not about how nice your home is or how good the food tastes, but it is about the interaction between the hosts and the guests. Practical skills are also learned. By entertaining, I have learned how to make a large group of very different people feel comfortable together, how to cook for a lot of people with little hassle and how to entertain with little or no money or space. (We had a full Thanksgiving one year in New York City for 15 people in 250 square feet!)