During November we decided to deviate from our normal family night routine a bit and focus on some of the characteristics we value as a family. It has been nice to spend the Thanksgiving season emphasizing some of these important traits. We all need a reminder every now and then, even in our homes. This week we focused on a thankful heart with a Gratitude Family Night.
What does a thankful heart look like? We began by reading and discussing scriptures about gratitude and how God clearly calls us to have an “attitude of gratitude” in all things. Our focal point this week was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I really want these words to stick so they are printed and framed in our family room as a daily reminder. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. True thankfulness requires a joyful heart that LOOKS for the blessings that abounds and a spirit that continues to pour out praise for all of these things. I’m not going to lie here, this is something that has been difficult for me but I’m growing. A joyful heart that continually recognizes what we have been blessed with in all circumstances and shares that joy. I want that. Do you?
Another great verse when thinking of gratitude is Psalm 23:5. Personally, I like the way it is worded in the Message “You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” To me it seemed more relatable for the kiddos than anointing a head with oil. 🙂 My daughter’s Sunday School class once put this verse to action visually for her class and it stuck with me. We copied the idea here at home by setting out a bowl filled with water, a large drinking glass, and a 1/4 cup measuring cup on our table. *Hint- a small tub can help contain all that overflow! We read Psalms 23:5 and talked about having so many blessings that our cup would overflow. To demonstrate this concept we each took turns scooping water from the bowl into the cup while naming things we are thankful for. We were all able to go around several times watching the cup fill up more and more until it actually overflowed with our gratitude. The kids really got into this activity and loved seeing the water splash over the cup as they thought of more things to be thankful for in their lives.
We tried something a little different this week and did our first family photo scavenger hunt. I found an adorable Gratitude Scavenger Hunt over at Let’s Get Together and it was a hit! The boys are still a little young to fully grasp the concept but the girls LOVED it. They already have the next one in mind. Since this was our first photo scavenger hunt with the kids and to better accommodate the age range in our home we split our family of 6 into 3 teams. Dad and Andrew, Mom and Lex, and the girlies. Both of the girls enjoyed it so much that they’ve taken on the challenge of doing it again, on their own, and plan to share their individual efforts with us on Thanksgiving day.
We set everyone lose and ran around like goofs trying to gather everything on our list. I especially enjoyed this activity because I feel like it helped us all break out of the typical line of thought on what we’re thankful for and dig a little deeper…what am I grateful for that has been a personal struggle?…what am I grateful for that I have recently discovered in my life?…what am I grateful for simply because the sound, smell, or taste brings me joy? These questions gave the kids(and me!) opportunities to really think about all that we have and respond with a truly thankful heart. Sharing this focus on gratitude together encouraged me this weekend.
May you be blessed this week!