Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Preparing Our Hearts and Homes to Celebrate Thanksgiving

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This is the first in a three-part series on preparing our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving. Dee Travis is the author of  Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together.

November is here and it makes me start to think about the holidays. I always feel bad because Thanksgiving it such a great holiday and it gets here so fast and then after one day….it’s over and Christmas bells are ringing. Just one day of thankfulness doesn’t do it for me. There is so much to see and do as we think about Thanksgiving approaching. How about taking the whole month of November to celebrate Thanksgiving with me?

Thanksgiving-PinterestStep into November by getting outside and looking for God’s goodness and bounty! His glory in creation can be seen everywhere in the fall! The trees are changing into a beautiful display of God’s canvas of red, orange and yellow! How about visiting a pumpkin patch or a farm during harvest of the crops. Take your kids or grandkids to an apple orchard and pick some crisp juicy apples. We live on a farm in rural Iowa so we get to see harvesting of corn and soybeans first hand. We also grow a ton of pumpkins for the grandkids to pick. God is so good to us! We have a few apple trees so one of our favorite traditions is picking apples and making fresh apple cider! Those times all makes me reflect on how good and faithful God has been to us throughout another year. Harvest time with the bounty He gives us through crops and food and nature’s beauty will help us prepare our hearts to thank and praise an Almighty God!

Try reading a Psalm every day during November! Every day is a gift from God so celebrate His goodness every day. Start with Psalm 100 and go through Psalm 136. Some are short so you will be able to combine a couple of chapters on certain days. I kind of think that the Psalms and Thanksgiving go together like turkey and pumpkin pie! Each day after you are done reading write down three different things you are thankful for so that you can look at them during the month and then read them all on Thanksgiving Day! Always be ready to give thanks to God for what He had done for us! God is always good and you are always loved.

One of the things I love to do every year in November is attend my grandchildren’s Thanksgiving program at school. It really makes me think about our 9781620205310country and how the first Thanksgiving Day was started. The Pilgrims came to America to be able to worship God freely. They set aside this special time at harvest to thank God for all He had done for them. (And it was probably more than just one day!) It is such a good example for us to follow! The pilgrims not only shared their food with the Indians but they also shared their faith in a mighty God. Our forefathers sacrificed a lot for the freedoms we enjoy today and for that I am truly thankful!

Well are you in? I hope you will start to prepare your heart all month long and this Thanksgiving may be the most blessed ever!

Preparing for Thanksgiving: Five Verses to Ready Your Heart

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This is the third in a three-part series on preparing our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving. Dee Travis is the author of Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together.

 

Psalm 100 is one of my favorite scripture to meditate on as we approach the Thanksgiving season. When I think about that first Thanksgiving I imagine the Pilgrims and Indians in 1621 gathering to thank God for a bountiful harvest.

Thanksgiving-PinterestBut long before that another group of people had set aside a time to celebrate God’s goodness. It was the children of Israel during the Feast of Booths. In the fall after crops were harvested, the people had a time of worshiping and thanking God for all He had done for them. They brought their offerings of Thanksgiving to the Lord. (Leviticus 23: 39-44)

Psalm 100 is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God that we can reflect on during this Thanksgiving.

Day 1   “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 100:1

Have you ever felt so thankful you just couldn’t keep quiet? Sometimes I just stand in awe of God’s handiwork in the things I see around me in His creation. Sometimes I just want to proclaim what an awesome God we serve! Everyone on the earth is admonished to praise His name because everyone benefits from God’s goodness! In Psalm 19:1-3 and Psalm 98:7-8 it says that all nature joins in to declare the glory of God and sing praises to His name. It is neat to imagine the rivers clapping and hills singing together for joy in praise to God.

Day 2 “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful singing.” Psalm 100:2

There is joy in serving Jesus! We can all serve Him whether we are young or old. Offer to teach a Sunday school class or volunteer to take a meal to someone or go visit someone who is in need of a friend. And sometimes the hardest thing is to do it with a happy heart. Many times we do something because we know we need to…. but our heart isn’t really in it. Having a joyful attitude comes from loving God and reading His word and spending time in prayer. With happy hearts we can use the talents God has given each one of us for serving Him not just during the holiday season but each and every day!

Day 3 “Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who made us and not we ourselves; we are His people the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3

God is the very one who created us. He knows us better than anyone. He know when we all overwhelmed or discouraged with so many things pulling at us in a hundred different directions during the holidays. That’s when we go to Him as His sheep and lie down in green pastures. (Psalm 23:2) Find that quiet spot and sit beside the still waters talk to God. He loves us and will restore our weary soul! He cares for us like a good shepherd and for that I am truly thankful.

Day 4 “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name.” Psalm 100:4

We are so blessed in this country to be able to go to church and worship God freely. Being thankful for God’s love will show in our actions as we enter into worship and praise with others who love Him too. I love to gather together with my church family during Thanksgiving and hear testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness and mercy. Bless His name for all he has done for us!

Day 5 “For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, and His faithfulness is to all generations.” Psalm 100:5

One of my favorite sayings is “God is always good and you are always loved”. What a great truth to know that the God of this universe loves us so much He was willing to send His Son to die and take the punishment for our sins. We simply have to believe and He gives everlasting life! (John 3:16) God’s lovingkindness is everlasting! He will love us forever!! And His faithfulness is to ALL generations! God daily loads us with so many benefits. God knows our needs and watches over us and never leaves us to fend for ourselves. He cares about us and will always do what is best for us. God is so good!

 

Thanksgiving is a time of celebration and a time to turn our thoughts to God and His word and realize how very blessed we are of Him. Every day is a gift that we have been given…so every day (not just at Thanksgiving) thank Him and praise His name!

Preparing for Thanksgiving: Welcome an Attitude of Gratitude

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This is the second in a three-part series on preparing our hearts and homes for Thanksgiving. Dee Travis is the author of  Celebrate Life: Living to Serve God and Encourage Others as We Celebrate Life Together.

I really enjoy our church Thanksgiving Eve service. My week has usually been hectic and I have a house that needs cleaned and food that needs to be prepared but nothing helps my “attitude of gratitude” more Thanksgiving-Pinterestthan this night! Everyone enjoys homemade pie and then we have an informal time of singing and testimonies. It is good for me to hear others thanking God for what He has done in their lives over the last year. For some it has been a difficult year with pain and sorrow but they are still praising God and that is so encouraging. Sometimes it is a child who gives a testimony and it doesn’t get much better than childlike faith! I always go home feeling blessed and thankful for my church family! If you don’t have a Thanksgiving service at your church maybe you can make a list of the ways God has been good to you over the last year. Then have your own testimony time by thanking Him for all He has done!

We can also welcome gratitude to God for all He has done and provided for us by doing something special for others! We have so much to be thankful for as Christians. We have a God who loves us and has provided a way for us to have a home in heaven through Jesus Christ. When we place our trust in Him we receive eternal life. We enjoy the freedom to worship God here in America. We also have warm homes to live in and an abundance of food to eat at our tables. Every day God has richly blessed us and that should make us willing to bless others.

Plan to take a traditional Thanksgiving meal to some elderly or needy people in your church or neighborhood. It would probably be easiest to plan your dinner before Thanksgiving. This is a great service for kids to be involved in. They will love helping and it is good for them to see that we love and care about others. You might also want to print out Psalm 100 and attach it to one of the food containers. Contact families ahead of time so they will know you are coming and be sure to spend a few minutes and visit with them as you deliver their Thanksgiving meal. I know it seems like a lot of work but everyone will receive a blessing!

And then there is Thanksgiving Day that we spend with family and friends. It might be the biggest test for our attitude of gratitude! Most people get together on Thanksgiving Day with those they love and friends they care about. We celebrate together on Thanksgiving Evening. If we know of a family who doesn’t have their family close we will ask them to come join us. Since some have already had turkey and stuffing and are a little “stuffed” themselves we just do appetizers. It seems to be a big hit at our house. I usually put out our Scrabble game and everyone is to make a word about something they are thankful for. Mostly the kids like to do it! Sometimes I have the grandkids draw something they are thankful for and we have to guess what it is! An active game time usually finishes or evening together. I am so blessed and Thanksgiving Day and every day is a good time to celebrate God’s goodness!