As Ted watched the rain come down, he thought, Why should I be thankful? Everything's going wrong!
He was having a bad afternoon. He had wanted to go out and play ball with his friend Jeff, who had come over. It had taken Ted a long time to find his baseball because his little sister Jenny had hidden it. He finally found it inside one of his boots in the closet and started out the door. Just then, Jenny let Harry, his pet hamster, out of the cage. So Ted had spent another twenty minutes looking for Harry. By then it was lunchtime and Jeff had to go back home.
"C'mon Ted, cheer up," his mother had said. "Take time out and think about all the things you can be thankful for!"
It's easy for her to be happy and thankful, thought Ted. She doesn't have a little sister who is always making trouble and getting into things.
After Ted ate, he went into the living room and looked out the window. When he saw the rain, he knew there'd be no baseball game this afternoon either.
He sat down on the sofa and picked up a magazine. Slowly he started turning the pages. At first he hardly paid attention to what he was looking at. His mind was still on that baseball game he had hoped for. Then a picture of some poor children made him stop. How sad and thin they looked! The words below the picture said that they were hungry.
Ted thought about the good, hot soup and thick turkey sandwich he had just eaten. His mom always fixed lots of good food for the family to eat. All of a sudden Ted was ashamed of himself. He felt very selfish. Jesus had given him so much. He had a nice home. There were plenty of clothes hanging in his closet upstairs. He even had a little sister he really did love.
Once Ted started thinking of things he was thankful for, the list grew and grew. Then Ted thought about how God had sent His only Son Jesus to die on the Cross so that we can go to Heaven. How unselfish God is! How often did he remember to thank God for all the blessings in his life?
Slowly, Ted got down on his knees beside the sofa. Closing his eyes, he talked quietly to God. "Thank You, God," he prayed, "for everything You have done for me. Thank You for all the good things You have given me. Most of all, thank You for sending us Jesus. Please forgive me for feeling sorry for myself, and thinking I had nothing to be thankful for."
Let your child help in small ways to prepare for the coming holiday. As you work together, explain that though we are thankful to God every day, our nation celebrates Thanksgiving Day as a special day for saying, "Thank You."
During the week, talk about things for which to thank God. Perhaps your child would like to help you put together a centerpiece or display with things symbolizing blessings you especially appreciate as a family.
Allow your child to help plan for a worship time together on Thanksgiving Day. Include the reading of a passage of Scripture such as Psalm 138 or part of Psalm 118. Then let each person offer a Thank You prayer.