“Let us come before the Lord with thanksgiving” (Psalm 95:2).
At your Thanksgiving meal you have an opportunity to go beyond “saying grace” and “please pass the turkey” — you can celebrate the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday in a special way that unites family and friends in a celebration of God’s generosity.
Some years for Thanksgiving, Kristi and I have had as many as 20 people gathering at our home: family, friends, and friends of friends. What a joy it is to open our home to some who, if not with us, might have been alone. One of our traditions at our Thanksgiving table is to give each person a chance to read one of the Bible verses I’ve selected on the theme of thankfulness, and then to share something from this past year that they are thankful to God for.
Take the Gratitude Vaccine
Gratitude is good for the soul! It connects us to God and to one another and it lifts our spirits. Scientific studies prove the positive effects of verbalizing or writing down things that you’re thankful for. (See our article on “Gratitude Research for a summary of the incredible benefits of thankfulness to our body, mind, and soul.”)
Being grateful is God’s vaccine to inoculate us against the nasty spiritual viruses that spread like wildfire the day after Thanksgiving: materialism, greed, hurry, and self-pity. “Black Friday” tries to corrupt the holy day of Thanksgiving, seducing us out of being grateful to God to become dissatisfied and consumeristic. Of course, it is not wrong to shop on Black Friday — the issue is our hearts.
Soul Food at the Turkey Table
Maybe you’d like to join our Thanksgiving tradition? It’s simple. Everyone reads a short Bible verse on gratitude and says one thing they want to give thanks to God for (see below for the link to these verses). Then someone says a prayer.
What a blessing this is! How it elevates the conversation and helps to bond the people around the table. Most importantly, it puts Christ at the center of our conversations. All it takes is someone taking courage to get the conversation started.
Here are the Bible verses we read. Just print out the page of Scriptures, cut out each verse, and hand one verse to each person at your table.