TIME stands for: The Intentional Mealtime Experience. I love having TIME with my family and try and encourage others to do the same. Gathering family around the table and spending time together is one of the best gifts we can give to anyone. I have found that when I make it a point to have something meaningful happen at the dinner table, my family is happier and feels more connected. And guess what? It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to make a big impact on our kids! Meaningful conversation without distractions is a healthy things for our families. I hope you’ll look back at some of my ideas for TIME activities you can do around your table. And I have more ideas for the future, so stay tuned!
It’s Thanksgiving Eve, and if you haven’t thought about something to do at your meal to make it special, then I’ve got some ideas for you! I read my Bible most mornings and was thinking about writing a post about a Thanksgiving TIME. I read a Psalm everyday and came across Psalm 110. The title is: A Psalm for Giving Thanks. Perfect! Here are 5 ideas built around Psalm 100 that you can do at your Thanksgiving table this year. Remember, if you are having guests that aren’t Christians, you’ll want to be sensitive. Don’t put them on the spot or make them feel strange for not believing what you do. But do use this as an activity to share with them your thankfulness to God. At the very least, do idea #1. God’s Word is powerful and beautiful. It can touch every heart! And don’t discount what this can do for your children. Focusing on Jesus this Thanksgiving is a way to put faith in their hearts!
A Psalm for giving thanks.
100 Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
- Keep it simple: Read the Psalm out loud (or have your children do it). Repeat verse 4 and go around the table and have everyone say something for which they are thankful.
- Ask everyone what they think their most joyful sound is. A hearty laugh? A silly sound only they can make? Maybe everyone gives their best fake laugh. If you have a musical family, have kids play/sing a short line of music. Just get everyone making joyful sounds. Focus on the 1st and 2nd lines of this Biblical poetry and talk about how God loves music and wants us to praise Him with it. Play/sing a song of Thanksgiving or get out an old hymnal and read some lines of Thanksgiving hymns.
- Before your meal, have kids draw or make sheep. This could be with play dough, Legos, or with cotton balls on a sheet of paper. A quick search on the web offers lots of free printable ideas. Show-off the artwork after your meal and focus on God creating us and making us His. Talk about Jesus being the Good Shepherd and taking care of us. And because Jesus takes care of His sheep, we can be thankful. Use this as a segway to go around and have everyone share how God has taken care of them this past year.
- If you have older guests, focus on verse 5. Allow the elders around the table to share how they have seen God’s faithfulness over the years. It’s always an honor for them to participate – and so good for our children to hear from the older people in our lives. Maybe you tell a story about how God has been faithful to your family. It could be story that is handed down generation to generation!
- Read the Psalm together on Thanksgiving Eve (tonight!) and either assign or allow your family members to choose a verse they like. They’ll be responsible tomorrow for reading the verse and sharing what it means to them. Older kids can do this on their own (after you give them some direction) and younger kids may need some one-on-one time with you for help. Give them these directions: What does this verse say? (Have them write it in their own words) What does it mean? (What does it tell us to do or be?) What does this verse mean to you? Have you seen a time where this verse was seen in your life? How could you use this verse in the future? What does the verse prompt you to be more thankful for?
There are a million different things you can do with this amazing piece of poetry. It was specifically written for Giving Thanks, so use it at your Thanksgiving dinner table this year!