It's November 1. The Christmas music started on the radio today. Somehow, our focus always seems to skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, and we miss fully experiencing the holiday in between. Days of Thanksgiving were celebrated in many states before it officially became a holiday in 1863. Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday as a way to unite the nation by giving people a common focus on the things for which they were grateful.
This year, I encourage you to use the month of November to unite your family in a common focus on the things for which you are thankful. To help you do that, the Everyday Truth blog will focus each day on one of the names of God and how we can be thankful for how that particular attribute of God affects our own lives. It is my intent for you to be able to use part or all of the posts this month as a family devotional. In true Everyday Truth style, each post will also include an activity or some conversation starters for you to use each day. It is my prayer that you and your family would learn new things about God's character and find new things for which to be thankful in the weeks before you sit down to a turkey feast. So, let's get started.
Fall is an amazing time of the year. If you live where the seasons change, the air begins to get colder, the leaves turn beautiful colors and begin to fall, and the animals are busy getting ready for winter. All of this happens without us doing anything. No one has to tell the leaves to change color or tell the squirrels to store up food for the long, cold months ahead. No one suggests to the bears that it might be a good time to go take a long nap. All of these things happen because that is how God created it to happen.
God is an amazing creator. Take a look around outside and see the awesome variety of trees, plants and animals. God made everything from the smallest ant to the largest elephant. He made snakes and eagles. He made redwood trees and dogwood trues. He even made you.
I don't know about you, but I doubt my brain could have ever come up with the amazing variety of things that God created. Did you know that an elephant actually walks on its tiptoes? The largest land animal in the world supports its massive weight on its toe bones. Could you have thought up an animal like that? I know that if I had been making an animal that weighed 8,000 pounds, I'm pretty sure I would have given it a really big foot bone with which to support itself. But God didn't. He created this huge animal, and he made it so it could walk on its toe bones.
Examples of God's hand abound in the world, not just in His design of the elephant's foot. Have you ever seen a Surprise Lily? In the spring, this flower has lots of leaves that come up out of the ground, but then those leaves die off. Later, a lily springs up from the ground -- without any leaves. It's just a flower on the top of a stalk. It's totally different from any other plant.
Look around your family. Do you all look alike, act alike and think alike? Of course not. God made each one of you different and special. No matter how similar you may be to other members of your family, there are things that make you uniquely you. Take a minute and share with one another the things you've noticed about each other that make each of you different from the others in your family.
David was so in awe of God's creation that he wrote these words in Psalm 8:3-4: "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?" When David really looked at God's creation -- the sun, the moon and the stars -- he was in awe of the God that created them. The greatness of God's creation made David feel like a small piece of it. Yet, God loves you and is intimately interested in you, whether you feel big or small. Memorize this verse as a family this week. Talk about how knowing that God created everything makes you feel. Do you feel overwhelmed by God's amazing creation? Does it make you feel good to know that despite all the things God created, He wants to have a relationship with you? Share your feelings with your family.
As you focus on God the Creator today, think about all the things for which you are thankful that God made. You can each make a list and share it or you can make a thankfulness tree, which you can use throughout the month. Cut up some paper grocery bags to make a tree trunk and branches. Tape the tree to a wall or a door in your house. Then cut out some simple leaves from colored construction paper to go on the tree. Make a bunch because you will use them every day. On your leaves today, write the things that God created for which you are thankful. Put a different thing on each leaf. Tape the leaves to your tree. Be sure everyone in your family fills out at least one leaf. As you go through the month and learn about the different names of God, you will find more things for which to be thankful that you can write on your leaves. By the end of the month you should have a tree with an abundance of fall leaves.
End your family time today with a prayer thanking God for His creation. Be specific when you pray, letting everyone thank Him for several things. Be sure to thank God for each other.