November is finally here and with it comes so many things that I love. I mean, who doesn’t love sitting around a fire pit making s’mores, watching kids jump into huge piles of leaves, wearing warm sweaters and boots, making soups, sipping on hot chocolate, and occasionally enjoying a yummy slice of apple pie! Then, to top it all off, there’s Thanksgiving! A holiday filled with family, food, more pie, and time to really reflect on all we have to be thankful for. The month of November reminds me of taking a leisurely stroll through a beautiful park, filled with the colors of fall, feeling the crisp cool air, and taking in the beauty of Gods creation. During such a stroll, how could you not want to express your thankfulness to Him? He continually pours out His blessings on us and we should have humbled hearts filled with gratitude.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” ( Romans 11:36)
September is a busy birthday-filled month for us. Then, October is full of fall festivities and school parties to prepare for. Personally, I need the month of November, to recover from the craziness, to reflect on God’s grace that has been continually extended to me, and to really prepare myself for December…the glorious Christmas season…and the anticipation of celebrating our Saviors birth!
All too often we tend to let the hustle and bustle of December creep into our November. We want to make November our countdown, as we await the madness of the holiday season; when instead we should be letting it cause us slow down and settle into a heart of thankfulness. If we decide to stroll through November, instead of racing to December, and really think about all we have to be thankful for, maybe…just maybe, our hearts would be fuller and our December “wish-lists” would be shorter.
This month, as a family, we are going to take a stroll through November. I want to encourage my kids, each day, to really think about what they are thankful for and to Whom they should be thankful for such great gifts.
My sister-in-law is always sharing new ideas and ways of building up an attitude of gratitude in our families, especially during the month of November. She and I share a love for Pinterest, where there are endless ideas you can use to encourage your family to focus on thankfulness during the month of November. The last few years she has used the same tablecloth for our Thanksgiving meal. Each year we have all of our kids trace their handprint and write on it things they are thankful for. It’s fun to see what their little hearts are thankful for and it won’t be long before that tablecloth is covered in handprints and lists of the things they loved the most.
I wanted to put my own spin on this idea and have something we could write on each day during this month, but still be able to keep for years to come. Since I can’t imagine a world were an actual, nice, pretty tablecloth is used at a table were 4 small children eat, I decided to go with a placemat! Each night, when we sit down for dinner, everyone will say something they are thankful for and it will get written on the placemat. At the end of the month our placemat will be covered in “Thankfulness” and after a few years we will have quite the collection of placemats to use at family dinners!
This November we are also making a Thankful Tree. I found this idea on Pinterest and loved it. It can be done a couple different ways. We actually made a cutout of a tree to put on the wall and then we add “Thankful Leaves” to it each day. It can also be done by collecting a bunch of sticks, placing them in a large vase, and then hanging leaves or tags from it each day (sort of like ornaments). Here is a link to one of the ideas I found on pinterest that actually has leaf printables with bible verses on them for you to reflect on each day as a family.
Here is our “Thankful Tree” so far. The kids love that it’s a hands on activity and are already excited to see how “full” our tree will be at the end of the month.
These are just a couple of simple ways we can encourage our kids to be thankful for all that they have as we stroll through this month. My prayer is that it really will fill their hearts with gratitude and push them closer to our God from whom all blessings flow.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (1 Chronicles 16:34)