Our Thanksgiving celebrations are one of the highlights of the autumn term. This year we had an international bring-and-share celebratory meal at Heaton Baptist Church and it was a fantastic evening! We had about 50 guests and lots of delicious food. During the evening we had games, a quiz on the tables, some discussion and activities to enable people to cultivate an 'attitude of gratitude'. Kathi did a short talk on the fascinating origins of Thanksgiving in the USA and I followed with some personal reflections on thankfulness and practical suggestions for being more thankful.
It was so encouraging to have a real mix of Student Life regulars and new people from lots of different cultures and backgrounds.
If you'd like to have a go at the quiz you can download it here:
Thanksgiving quiz questions
Thanksgiving quiz answers
If you're interested in my talk, here it is:
“Thankfulness is the soil in which joy thrives”
Benefits of being thankful
Lots of reasons to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’. Health, relationships, career, emotional.
I’ve picked out just 3:
- Less materialistic (enjoy all the good things in life without wanting more all the time - ukulele). Appreciating what we’ve got. Studies have shown that once we’ve got our basic needs met (food, shelter, clothing) then having more stuff and more money doesn’t make us any happier and can actually make us less able to appreciate the simple things in life (from a Northwestern university study detailed in Wiseman, 59 Seconds)
Ironic - day after Thanksgiving in America is Black Friday when people literally trample each other to buy bargains.
Here’s a thought - do we want to get to the end of our lives and our main achievement to be a pile of stuff we can’t take with us?
- Less self-centred. Less likely to be envious of others and more likely to have compassion. Being thankful puts things into perspective and enables us to be more generous with our time, money, possessions and attitudes.
- More spiritually aware. When enjoying a gorgeous sunset or appreciating a beautiful flower, it’s wonderful having someone to thank. Thankfulness is a prominent theme in the Bible and this is one of my favourite verses. ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.’ I became a Christian at university and I’m so thankful for Jesus and the forgiveness and new life that he brings.
How we can practice thankfulness
- Go on a thankfulness walk (through the park, by the beach). Consciously notice everything that you’re grateful for.
- Keep a thankfulness journal
- Give at least one compliment daily
- When you’re in a difficult situation, ask yourself what you can learn from it.
- Vow to not complain, criticise or gossip for a week.
- Join a cause that does something important to you. Donate money, time or talent.
- Learn to say thank you in someone else’s native language.
Terima kasih (Indonesian)
terima kasih (Malay)
There are some thank you cards on your tables.
- Maybe you’d like to write a thank you card to someone you appreciate - friend, family.
- Maybe you want to have a card ready to give to someone this week (shop assistant, bus driver etc.)
- Maybe you’d like to use the card to write a prayer of thanks to God for all the blessings that he gives you.
In : Ministry
Tags: thanksgiving gratitude celebration quiz