Thanksgiving is right around the corner. While the holiday is often filled with lots of food and company, it is also an opportunity to pause and remind ourselves of the power of gratitude. As Christians, we believe that all of creation belongs to God and every good thing, including grace, comes from God. In this lesson, children will explore and practice the call to thank God for the abundant gifts we are given in Psalm 100.
You will need
- A Bible
- A computer with Internet access hooked to a data projector or television screen
- YouTube Video “Kid President’s 25 Reasons to Be Thankful”
- Materials for “gratitude tree” activity (optional): chart or butcher paper, scissors, crayons or markers, glue, paper leaves
- Materials for “gratitude for the little things” activity (optional): A large jar or vase, dried beans
Greet the children as they arrive.
Show the children a short video from Kid President called “Kid President’s 25 Reasons to Be Thankful.”
After watching the video, ask:
- Why does Kid President encourage us to make a list of “things that make life awesome”?
- What are some other reasons why it is good to be thankful?
Exploring the passage
Say a prayer.
Provide context for the lectionary reading (Psalm 100):
- This week’s reading is a psalm. The word psalm sounds like song. Psalms are poems that were often sung by the people of God.
- Some psalms shared the sadness that people felt about difficult things happening in their lives. Others asked God for help. And some praised God. Sometimes the praise went like this: “Wow, God! You are amazing! Here are all the amazing things you’ve done!” Others, like Psalm 100 share praise by thanking God.
Read aloud Psalm 100. If you prefer to use a child-friendly version of the psalm, there is an excellent retelling of it in Growing In God’s Love: A Story Bible called “Thank You, God!”
After reading, ask:
- According to the psalm, why should we thank God?
- In what ways does the psalm suggest that we show God our gratitude?
Relating the passage to our lives
Help the children explore gratitude to God in their own lives through one or more of these activities.
- Gratitude tree: Draw a tree (without leaves) on a piece of chart paper or butcher paper. Then cut out a number of paper leaves for the tree. You can make your own our use one of these templates. Give each child several paper leaves along with crayons or markers. Ask them to write or draw pictures of things they are grateful for on the leaves. Then, have them glue the leaves to the paper tree. Hang your gratitude tree somewhere in the church.
- Gratitude for the little things: Have the children sit in a circle on the floor or around a table. Tell the children that there are days when it feels like nothing is going right. On those days, we may think we have nothing to be grateful for. However, we can still be thankful for small things that are important in our lives or that bring us joy, like a cold glass of water on a hot day or a brightly colored leaf. Place a large jar or vase on the floor/table in front of the children. Give each child a handful of dried beans. Pass the jar around asking each person to say one small thing they are grateful for while placing a bean in the jar. Continue to pass the jar until the children run out of beans. Ask the children to notice how full the jar is.
As you conclude your time together, offer a prayer for the coming week.
Encourage the children to take moments throughout this busy holiday week to say “thank you” to God and to the people in their lives.