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Thanksgiving is an American Holiday when people come together, treasure the relationships with those close to them, and thank God for his blessings over the past year. While the New Year celebrates new opportunities and a chance to start over, Thanksgiving reminds us how far we have come and how God and others have helped us to get where we are.

This Thanksgiving Activity encourages youth to remember things for which they are thankful and also reminds us that we are also connect to those around us and need to be thankful for them as well. Being Thankful isn’t just for Americans and Canadians. It’s something all of us should take time to do!

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What You Need

  • Ball of string or yarn

What to do

  1. Sit the youth group on the floor in a circle with everyone facing inward toward the center of the circle.
  2. Ask the youth to think about the past one year. What have been some of the best times, the highlights, the celebrations? What are some things from the past year that they are thankful for? Give them a few moments to think and then ask them all to think of one thing each and to hold it in their thoughts.
  3. Then choose one youth to begin and hand them the ball of string. The chosen youth must tell everyone in the circle ONE THING they are thankful for.
  4. Then, holding firmly to the end of the string, he or she must toss the ball of string to someone else in the circle who has not yet received the string.
  5. The person receiving the string gives ONE THING he or she is thankful and does the same — holding firmly onto the string, he or she tosses the ball on to another person who has not received it yet.
  6. The string should be held tightly and above the ground at all times.
  7. Continue until everyone has received the string once and has told the group one thing they are thankful for.

VARIATION: In addition to the one thing they are thankful for, have youth to think about one person in the circle they are thankful for and one characteristic of that person that they appreciate. For example: “I am thankful for my family and I am also thankful for Bob, because he makes me laugh all the time.”

TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL

Just as in this game, many of the blessings of the past year are shared and connect us together. When one person is blessed, the joy is shared and we often bless others as a result. Smiles are contagious. Joy is shared. And a heart of gratitude reminds not only us, but others of the source of our blessings which is God.

There are a lot of things in life to be thankful for.  James 1:17 reminds us “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Ephesians 1:3 reminds us “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

  • What are some of the other things you are thankful for from the past one year?
  • What are some of the things you have been blessed with in the past 1 year?
  • What are you most thankful for? Why?

MAKE IT SPIRITUAL

Read Psalm 145:1-21
This psalm gives many reasons we should praise God and be thankful to Him. Some of those things listed describe who God is, what he is like. Others describe what he has done or will do. List all the reasons to thank God and praise Him as found in this psalm.

  • Why should we be thankful to God and praise Him?
  • What are some of the things that will happen when we praise God according to this psalm?
  • What does thanksgiving do for us? How does our thanks affect others?

Read Psalm 95:1-7a
“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.”

  • What reasons do these verses give for being thankful and singing for Joy to God?
  • Why should these things make us thankful?
  • What are some practical benefits of each?

Read Psalm 100
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

  • In psalm 100, what are the 6 reasons given to be thankful to God and to praise Him?
  • Who does the psalm say should be thankful?
  • Which of the 6 reasons makes you most thankful?

MAKE IT PRACTICAL

  • What lessons can we learn about Thanksgiving and Gratitude from these Bible passages?
  • Why should we be more thankful each day of our lives, and not just once a year?
  • What effect could it have on us and others if we always had a grateful heart?

MAKE IT PERSONAL

  • How can you be a more grateful person with God and others?
  • Take some time in prayer to thank God for his blessings over the past year.
  • This week, set aside some time each day to thank God for all the blessings in your life.

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURE

Ephesians 5:19-21
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Philippians 4:6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Colossians 3:17
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

2 Corinthians 9:10-11
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

Get Creative Youth Ideas: "Holiday Collection" ebook Creative Holiday Ideas
Games and Activities in Celebration of common Holidays.

Creative Holiday Ideas has over 300 pages of ideas to help you plan not only your next Fall Festival or Thanksgiving Celebration, but also most of the other common holidays. If you’ve ever wondered what you’re going to do for the holidays and how you’re going to do it, this resource is for you.

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