O Father of Goodness, we thank you for all that is beautiful, loving and true. Amen.
For those of us in the United States it’s Thanksgiving time again. Halloween is over and Christmas trees and ornaments have made their appearance in the stores.
Advertisements about Black Friday are everywhere. In some ways it seems Thanksgiving runs the risk of getting lost in the shuffle. How can it compete with the bags of candy corn and M & Ms on the one end and “Jolly Old St. Nick” on the other?
And yet, despite the fact that this isn’t a Catholic holiday per se, it is all about giving thanks. What can be more Catholic than that?
Whether we are better off than we were last year, or not so well off, there is still so much to be thankful for. I was thinking about how to get that across to the Pre-K CCD class my daughter and I teach on Tuesday afternoons.
Once they’ve settled down and told us all about their weekend, how can we capture their attention and focus it on Thanksgiving and what it is all about. I decided to enlist the help of Mr. Gobble-Gobble (or as my daughter and co-teacher calls him, Mr. Gobbledy-Goop).
He was meant to be one of a pair of crocheted turkeys to be used as a centerpiece for our Thanksgiving table, but I never got around to making the second one, so he will be doing double duty by helping us explain to the pre-schoolers about Thanksgiving. But where to start?
We decided to begin with the obvious, discussing all the wonderful gifts God has given us and how we should be thankful to Him for them. They usually get all excited once we get them started naming off things and they never cease to come up with things to be thankful for that surprise me.
A year or two ago one of our students informed us that he was thankful for his mom, even though they had to go to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving dinner since mom couldn’t cook it! That made my daughter and I smile and we had to work hard not to laugh.
Sometimes the children remind me of something I should be thankful for that I may have forgotten. Out of the mouths of babes…
Let us reflect on our reasons to be thankful…
After our discussion, we’ll do a project or some coloring pages and have a story…probably the story about Jesus healing the 10 Lepers. Their eyes get so big when we ask whether or not ALL the lepers should have come back to thank Jesus.
I look forward to seeing how they respond this year. It will be a nice lead in to a discussion about how we must always remember to thank God for his many gifts and how every day should be a sort of mini-Thanksgiving. I wish we had more time to work with our class.
Thanksgiving is such a wonderful opportunity to discuss and put into practice the virtues, not only of thankfulness but of charity.
Thanksgiving crafts are easy enough to find, at least of a secular nature. I think we made paper plate turkeys, Thanksgiving cards and colored little pilgrim children for years before the girls outgrew the activity.
Looking back on it, I probably should have had them make a centerpiece for the table as well—something that reflected our thankfulness as a family and as individuals. Would you consider sharing your Thanksgiving activities and projects?
Even those of us with older or grown children might benefit.
To the right is one of many craft ideas I found while surfing the internet; a Pumpkin Pie Spinner. I thought it was very clever.
And here are three articles I found that elaborate a little on the history and Catholicity of Thanksgiving. The last is a little older, but still interesting. I hope you enjoy them.
- Catholic Ways of Celebrating Thanksgiving Day
- Thanksgiving Day, a deeply Catholic holiday
- Catholic Activity: Celebrating Thanksgiving
God bless and Happy Thanksgiving.