Author Lowell Streiker once asked his 4-year-old grandson how he liked his Thanksgiving dinner. “I didn’t like the turkey much, but I sure loved the bread it ate,” he replied.
I suspect Grandmother Streiker had something to do with the bread the turkey ate. I don’t know how she does it, but my grandmother always picks a turkey that ate cornbread.
Lacy, age 11, has a grandmother who goes above and beyond the call of duty: “We all get to pick one thing for my grandmother to cook.” Lacy, I hope your grandmother gets to pick a few people to wash the dishes.
“I like Thanksgiving because I’m off from school, and I don’t have to eat supper because I stuff myself at lunch,” says K.F., 10.
It’s true that turkeys aren’t the only creatures who get stuffed on Thanksgiving, but let’s not forget the holiday’s original purpose, says Michael, 9: “The Pilgrims wanted to have a feast, and the Indians were very nice.”
The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth in December of 1620. By early fall, about half of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower had died. The remaining colonists decided to celebrate their survival with a feast that lasted three days. Their guests were 91 Indians who taught them how to survive in their new environment.
The Pilgrims believed God enabled them to endure by providing help through an Indian named Squanto. You can imagine their astonishment when he walked into their camp and said in perfect English, “My name is Squanto.”
As a boy, Squanto had been kidnapped and taken to England, where he studied English for three years. Later, he was sold into slavery but was purchased and freed by Christians.
At the first Thanksgiving, Governor William Bradford thanked God for his bounty, protection and providence in “bringing to us the Indian Squanto, your own special instrument to save us from hunger and to help us to establish our colony in this new land.”
“Thanksgiving has two good words,” says Hollie, 9. “They are ‘thanks’ and ‘giving,’ and that’s what we need to do — thank others and be giving. Those are two things my mom taught me.”
Hollie, your mom has taught you well. You’re following the example of the Pilgrims.
But let’s not forget Dad. Adrienne, 9, is fortunate to have a father who’s not ashamed to offer thanks to God: “I like when my dad prays before we eat. I don’t know why, but I just do.”
Smart dads with young children are always aware that little eyes are watching. When dads set an example by honoring and thanking God for his goodness and provision, their children usually follow.
Tori, 6, is already following the example of godly parents: “I like Thanksgiving because I get to eat chicken and my mama is with me and my daddy is with me. I get to see my cousins. I get to be with God because I say the blessings.”
Tori, you might have the wrong bird, but you’ve definitely got the right company.
Matthew Henry, a Christian Bible scholar who lived in the 17th century, learned to obey the biblical command to “in everything give thanks.” After being robbed, he wrote: “Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse, they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Now that’s what I call thanksgiving!
Point to ponder: If God is in control of my life, I can thank him for whatever he allows to come into my life.
Scripture to remember: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Question to consider: What are you grateful for today?
Kids Talk About God is designed for families to study the Bible together. Research shows that parents who study the Bible with their children give their character, faith and spiritual life a powerful boost. To receive Kids Talk About God three times a week in a free, email subscription, visit www.KidsTalkAboutGod.org/email.