Even if you taught on Thanksgiving last week, you may want to use this illustration the Sunday after Thanksgiving or really anytime you want to talk turkey, ah, I mean about being thankful. You could turn each segment of this short illustration into a prayer as a guided prayer time.
Ask the children to trace the outline of their hand in their church notebook. Show them how with your hand, stretching and curling the thumb to form the head of the turkey. If your children don't normally take notes (I encourage you to train them to take notes from each service. Remember, the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory), then provide each child with paper and crayon or pencil. Have each child trace around their hand to make the turkey hand print. Let them add legs, eyes and decorations as time permits. Talk to them as they draw.
I need your help today. I need you to draw the visual for today's lesson. I want you to draw around you're hand. Look at your hand. What you do with your hands is very important. With your hands you can do good things or you can do bad things. You can hurt people or you can help people. You can encourage people or you can discourage them just by how you touch them with your hand. Your kind touch can bring joy or your hard fist can bring hurt. If your deepest desire is not to lift and encourage others, then you have a heart problem. When you love God, you will love others. Yes, sometimes we need an attitude adjustment and God can handle that for you, if you'll ask. Draw a heart in the center of the hand print. Maybe you've never asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and come into your life. He wants to. Ask Him. Maybe you've asked Him, but you're mad and sad inside. He wants to give you a loving, joy filled heart. Ask Him. Let's do that right now.
I'm sure you've done this before, I want you to make a turkey out of your hand print. Maybe you're thinking Thanksgiving's over and you're right and wrong. You're right that Thanksgiving day is over, but you're very wrong if you think giving thanks is over. Giving thanks is more than a holiday. Giving thanks must be a way of life if you want the best life. Today, let's talk about how to use your hand to express love by expressing thankfulness.
Have them write GOD on the index finger of the turkey. (Fold your fingers so only the index finger is extended.) In everything we do, we must keep Him first. He is the giver or every good and perfect gift, so first of all, let's thank God for His goodness. We can thank Him with words. Be careful to never forget they are only words unless you mean them from your heart. Thankfulness is not thankfulness until it is expressed. You can thank God by lifting your hands or by clapping your hands. Let's thank God right now.
You have three more fingers or feathers on your turkey. Each is a reminder of something or someone to be thankful for. Before you write anything down, I want you to think for just a minute. On the remaining fingers write the names of three you are people you are thankful for. Is there someone that helps you that you have never said thank you to? Someone like the cafeteria lady, the bus driver or your pastor? Ask God to give you three names that you need to thank. Write their names on your turkey, one name on each finger/feather. Everyday this week pray for the three names on your hand. Find a creative way to say thank-you. Make them a card, a little gift or write them a letter. Is there a way you can give them a hand? Let's ask God right now to give you the name of someone. You can write it down as we pray.
Gratefulness builds you up, It makes you feel happy! Grumbling deflates you! It sucks and steals all your joy! Gratefulness is expressed by thankfulness.