I’m a big film person. I could sit at home all day and enjoy a movie marathon. With Christmas on its way, there are plenty of holiday movies out to inspire love and giving. But one I recently watched has me thinking about Thanksgiving, even though it is called The Ultimate Gift. In the movie, the main character must complete tasks that pertain to important life lessons before he can get the millions promised to him from his recently-deceased grandfather. In the end, he has a new appreciation of life and outlook on true happiness. We know that Jesus was the ultimate gift for us, giving us the promise of eternal life and happiness in heaven.
Here’s a few ways you can take more action this Thanksgiving season to give you and your family the ultimate gift:
Write down reasons you are thankful for each family member. Many people are pretty good about listing out their blessings during Thanksgiving. But do you ever tell family members why you are thankful for them? Have everyone around the table make a list for each person. It doesn’t have to be extensive, just a handful of things. Then stack each paper in a pile at each person’s seat at the table. If you want to make it more of a game, have everyone tape a piece of paper to their back and each person walks around writing those thankful messages. This gives a new meaning to having someone’s back. By the end of this activity, everyone will have a deeper appreciation for each other, knowing we so often take each other for granted.
“Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.” Proverbs 17:6
Serve a Thanksgiving meal to those in need. This could mean volunteering at a soup kitchen or taking food to a family without. You could even invite the neighbors over to join in your meal. Don’t let others go hungry this season if you have a means to serve.
“The greatest among you will be your servant. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
Donate. Giving Tuesday may not be until after Thanksgiving, but it isn’t too soon to get started. You could drop some change in the Salvation Army buckets outside of Wal-Mart or give some clothes or toys to a local charity. This will give you and your family a deeper appreciation of the things you have, as well as the meaning of helping others.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21
Fast the week before Thanksgiving as a family from something you all take for granted. They say, “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”. Removing something from your daily routine is a surefire way to create a new appreciation for it. Ideas include T.V., smart phones/tablets, sweets or even your bed. Then on Thanksgiving Day, break the fast and discuss with family members about getting along without it.
“Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:5
Live your life as Jesus commands; loving and serving others. And hopefully these Thanksgiving tasks will provide you with the ultimate gift this holiday season.