An attitude of gratitude: Thanksgiving celebration ideas

Loving God, Creator of all that has been, all that is, and all that is to come;
You made us human and gave us hearts to love you and follow you.
We thank you for the many blessings you have given us over this past year.

So begins a lovely Thanksgiving morning prayer composed by the Rev. Dr. LaGretta Bjorn, a United Methodist pastor in Spring Valley, NY. It is one of several timely resources provided on the General Board of Discipleship Website’s 2014 Thanksgiving page. Others include celebration ideas, Holy communion liturgy, recommended music, reflections and even a child’s prayer.

It’s not too late to enhance your Thanksgiving festivities with some of the great ideas in MaryJane Pierce Norton’s article  Thanksgiving Celebrations for the Home.

“An attitude of gratitude–that’s what we seek to instill in ourselves and in our family members,” writes GBOD’s Associate General Secretary for Leadership Ministries. “Thanksgiving lends itself to helping us name the many ways we are blessed…. (and) enable our families to focus not just on the food of the day, but on true gratefulness for the many blessings experienced by our families.”

Place tags, greeting cards, blessings boxes, photographs (even selfies) and lighted candles–each offers a suggested memento to remember not only this special day but the also the friends and loved ones near and far who help make it special.  Learn more…

Want more doable ideas? The check out United Methodist Communications writer Joe Iovino’s article, “Easy ways to share gratitude this Thanksgiving.” As he artfully describes, “a bounty of wonderful memories…The crisp air. The smell of a turkey roasting and a pumpkin pie baking. The sound of a cheering crowd at a football game. All these can create warm feelings during this special time of year.”

Iovino quotes Methodism’s founder John Wesley, who wrote of the reason for this season: “Thanksgiving is inseparable from true prayer; it is almost essentially connected with it.” He also suggests blessing boxes and other keepsakes to help make the occasion memorable, but also using this time to sing songs, ponder thoughts (maybe even in writing), serve others and practice radical hospitality. How? Invite someone new to dinner,” Joe writes.

Now there’s an idea that seems oddly familiar. Oh yes, it’s the very act of radical, welcoming hospitality that purportedly inspired the first Thanksgiving between Native Americans and new European settlers. It was the beginning of a harmonious friendship. Alas, if only it had lasted.