Be Thankful Sunday School Lesson for Thanksgiving

In this lesson, we will explore the importance of thankfulness based on Psalm 100 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We will discuss various truths and myths about thankfulness, emphasizing that giving thanks is not limited to specific occasions like Thanksgiving and that there is always something to be thankful for because God is always good. Our takeaway is that we can choose to be thankful even in challenging circumstances, trusting in God’s kindness and His plan for our lives.

Group Worship

Thankful

Kids give thanks to God because He is good to them and gives them everything they need. This song reminds kids (and adults!) to remember and appreciate all the good things God does for them.

 

Lyric & Motions Video 

Give Thanks

In this song, kids are reminded that saying “thank you” to God is important because He loves them and gives them good things. They learn to appreciate and remember all the good things God does for them.

 

Lyrics Video  |  Motions Video 

Song 1
Song 2

Group Worship

Thankful

Kids give thanks to God because He is good to them and gives them everything they need. This song reminds kids (and adults!) to remember and appreciate all the good things God does for them.

 

Lyric & Motions Video 

Song 1

Give Thanks

In this song, kids are reminded that saying “thank you” to God is important because He loves them and gives them good things. They learn to appreciate and remember all the good things God does for them.

 

Lyrics Video  |  Motions Video 

Song 2

Opening Activity | Memory

Be Thankful - Opening Activity

Objects Needed: Print out the Thanksgiving Pictures here.

Before class print out the Thanksgiving Pictures linked above.

The goal of the game is for your kids to remember the order you show the pictures in.

Show the pictures one by one and lay them face down in your lap or on a table in front of you. (This will be an easy way to remember the order you went in!)

Once you have shown all the pictures, see if anyone can list, from memory, the order they went in.

You can make the game more difficult… by showing some pictures 2 or 3 times.

Alternatively for younger kids, you might only want to use 3 or 4 of the images and go nice and slow.

Be Thankful - Opening Activity

Real Life Lesson | The Whole Donut

Objects Needed: Donuts

Today we are talking about being thankful, even when things are going perfectly.

And I don’t know if you are aware, but one of my FAVORITE foods can help us remember this…

DONUTS!

(If you brought a box of donuts to class show the kids the donuts and ask them what their favorite kind is. Then, pick one up for the illustration…)

When you eat a donut, do you complain the middle is missing?

Of course not! You don’t focus on the hole, you focus on the whole rest of the donut!

This is much like being thankful. We can look at the things that don’t go our way and be mad or upset and complain, OR we can look at the good things God has done for us and how He takes care of us and be thankful for that.

There’s a rhyme to help us with this idea. The next time you are tempted to complain about something, remember a donut and say this…

As you go through life, make this your goal, look at the donut and not the hole.

(Have your kids repeat this with you a couple times)

Lesson Script

PSALM 100

Objects needed: Print (or write out) the truths/myths below on pieces of paper. Fold them up and hide them around your classroom before class begins.

Have you ever seen the show “Mythbusters”? On that show, some people who LOVE science test out science-related things that people believe, to see if they are facts or just myths.

For example, “Can water dripping on your forehead actually drive you nuts?” and “Can you cure a hot chili attack by licking toothpaste?” and “Do sharks smell blood from miles away?”

I thought we would bust some myths in class today, too–but not the science kind.

 

…Not the science kind.

 

I’ve hidden the myths around the room on pieces of paper. Each of you will find one, bring it to your desk, and then write “truth” or “myth” on it. Then I’ll ask you to tell the class why you think it’s the truth or a myth. (If you have more than 10 students, have them work in pairs or groups).

TRUTH OR MYTH?

  1. Giving thanks is something you only have to do on Thanksgiving Day.
  2. If you’re thankful, you’ll be happy, too.
  3. There is ALWAYS something to look forward to.
  4. God doesn’t expect you to say “thank you” when you’re sad.
  5. Saying “thank you” is the only way to show you’re thankful.
  6. There’s no need to say thank you for small things, especially when they’re things you need or deserve.
  7. It’s impossible to be thankful when things are rough in your life.
  8. If you fail a test, you have a good excuse to be thankful.
  9. You should be thankful for big things and small things in your life.
  10. There is always something to be thankful for.

(After the kids give their thoughts about the truths or myths, continue with the lesson. Don’t discuss whether the students were wrong or right or give explanations yet).

Did you notice what those truths/myths were about? They were all about being thankful! Do you know what the Bible has to say about thankfulness? What it says can really help us clear up any questions we might have about whether those phrases we read were truths or myths.

Let’s turn to the book of Psalms, a book filled with poems. King David, (you know, “David and Goliath” David?), was inspired by God to write a lot of the poetry we read in this book.

There are many types of poems in the Psalms. Some of them are really sad, others are really glad. Today we are going to look at a happy one about….you guessed it! Thankfulness.

(Have a kid read the following verses:)

 

PSALM 100:1-5

“Shout to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with joy; come before him with singing. Know that the Lord is God.He made us, and we belong to him;we are his people, the sheep he tends. Come into his city with songs of thanksgiving and into his courtyards with songs of praise.Thank him and praise his name.The Lord is good. His love is forever, and his loyalty goes on and on.” (NCV)

 

Notice what it says:

“Thank him and praise his name.”

Does it say to give thanks WHEN THINGS are going WELL? Nope! It just says…thank him!

I don’t know about you, but it’s easier to be thankful when I’m happy. If things are going bad, and I’m unhappy….well, then, forget it!

Have you ever felt like you just can’t be thankful? Maybe you had a terrible baseball game, your favorite shirt got a hole in it, or the cat barfed all over the carpet in your bedroom. Bad days happen.

Or maybe you’re thinking, “Most of my days are bad days. My life is really difficult right now!”

Maybe things are rough at home. Your family’s constantly fighting. Your mom lost her job. Or your grandfather is in the hospital.

But the Bible says we should give thanks ALL THE TIME, so how are we supposed to do that? Well, let’s take a look at David’s life for a minute.

David’s life wasn’t full of happiness. He also had times of trouble. At one point, he had to run for his life because King Saul wanted to kill him. He lost A LOT of family members, including some of his own sons, and so much more. But he was still able to write God’s command for us to “give thanks”.

How come? Well…because there is ALWAYS ONE GOOD REASON for giving thanks.

(Lower voice to a whisper).
Do you want to know what it is?

 

It’s because…GOD IS GOOD. That will never change. He’s always good!

Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t have trouble in your life. But if you are a Christian, it does mean that God always has YOUR BEST interest in mind. He is always good to you!

And, if you have Jesus in your heart, you will live in heaven with him after this life is over. All the sad things you had to go through will just be distant memories. And what does that mean? It means that while you’re still here on earth, you ALWAYS have something to look forward to. And you always have something to be thankful for!

Let’s look at one more verse about thankfulness so we can understand how GOD thinks about being thankful. (Have a student read it).

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18.

“And give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus.” (NCV)

 

And with that verse and Psalm 100 in mind, let’s go back to our “truths” and “myths”. Let’s read over the list again, and talk about whether they are true or false, based on what we just read in the Bible.

TRUTH OR MYTH? (Discussion Answers)

Giving thanks is something you only have to do on Thanksgiving. (MYTH! We should give thanks ALL the time.)

If you’re thankful, you’ll be happy, too. (TRUTH! That’s how we can “serve the Lord with joy” like the Psalm says.)

There is ALWAYS something to look forward to. (TRUTH! We have our good God and a wonderful home in heaven!)

God doesn’t expect you to say “thank you” when you’re sad. (MYTH! God does want us to be thankful “whatever happens”, because it’s his will for us, like 1 Thes. 5:18 says. He allows hard things to happen for our good.)

Saying “thank you” is the only way to show you’re thankful. (MYTH! Psalm 100 says we can sing songs of thanksgiving to God. We can also show thankfulness by not complaining, and focusing on what we have instead of what we don’t have.)

There’s no need to say thank you for small things, especially when they’re things you need or deserve. (MYTH! The Bible says we should be thankful for everything God gives us because we belong to him.)

It’s impossible to be thankful when things are rough in your life. (MYTH! It’s not impossible, otherwise, David wouldn’t have done it, and God wouldn’t have asked us to do it. We can do it with God’s help.)

If you fail a test, you have a good excuse to be unthankful. (MYTH! God doesn’t mention any excuses in the Bible).

You should be thankful for big things and small things in your life. (TRUTH! Don’t take the little things for granted).

There is always something to be thankful for. (TRUTH! God is always good.)

(Close in prayer)

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Be Thankful - Group Game

Group Game | Yam Roll

Be Thankful - Group Game

Objects Needed: Plastic serving spoon and a yam for each contestant

In celebration of Thanksgiving, let’s race some yams across the room.

Give each contestant a plastic spoon and place a yam on the floor in front fo them.

When the game begins, the will race their yams to the finish line. The only way they can move it is to use the spoon! No hands, feel, or anything else allowed!

The first person to move their yam across the finish line wins!

Memory Verse

Did you know that “giving thanks” honors God? In other words we show God respect and importance when we say “thank you” to Him.

Why?

Because He gave us everything we have! He gives us the breath we breathe, the bodies we live in…in fact, ALL that we have in our life comes from Him. So to say “thank you” to God is to say, “we know everything comes from You and without You there wouldn’t be ANYTHING!”

So honor the Lord today and give thanks for your life and all that it includes!

Psalm 69:30 (NCV)

"I will praise God in a song and will honor Him by giving thanks. "

Small Group Questions

We talked about being WHAT today?
Thankful

What book of the Bible did we turn to? Hint: it’s filled with poems
Psalms

The verse we read in Psalm 100 told us to “Thank Him and praise His name”. What does that mean?
Answers will vary

What are we supposed to do when things aren’t going well?
Thank Him and praise His Name!

What was our thankfulness saying earlier about a donut?
As you go through life, make this your goal, look at the donut and not the hole.

Are we supposed to just ignore the bad things that happen to us?
No

What reason do we have to be thankful even during bad times?
God is Good. He is our Heavenly Father and is always taking care of us.

Someone read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 for me.

What can you be thankful for right now?
Answers will vary

Small Group Activity | Thankful Timer

Be Thankful - Small Group Activity

Objects Needed: Timer (you can use your phone or a stopwatch)

The goal of this game is to quickly think of something you are thankful for and keep the game moving! Whoever is talking when the timer goes off, is out. So think fast!

Have the kids form a circle or a straight line. This will be the order they go in.

When the timer starts each kid says something they are thankful for one at a time. Start at the front of the line (or a designated spot in the circle) and go in order.

If there is still time left after everyone has had a turn, start with the first kid again and keep going until the timer finishes.

The goal of the game is to not repeat anything, so if one kid says they are thankful for their parents, another kid can’t say they are thankful for their dad.

Whoever’s turn it is when the timer goes off is out.

Optional: You can also make 2 teams and have them go back and forth saying things they are thankful for. Then instead of being out when the timer goes off, just give the other team a point.

Be Thankful - Small Group Activity

Words For This Week

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 100

Memory Verse: “I will praise God in a song and will honor Him by giving thanks.” Psalm 69:30

—————–

Today we talked about being thankful, even when our lives aren’t going perfectly.

We read out of the book of Psalms today which is filled with all kinds of different emotions. There is thankfulness, sadness, joy, and even anger in the Psalms. Today we looked at a couple verses in Psalm 100 where we are instructed to:

“Thank Him and Praise His name.”

Notice it doesn’t say to thank Him when times are good. No, it just says “thank Him”.

This doesn’t mean we ignore the bad things in life or can’t ever feel other kinds of feelings.

It means we don’t stay focused on that. If we are a Christian, we have a Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for us like a father. We can trust that He knows what’s best for us and is in control at all times.

So no matter what we can be thankful for that.

An easy way to stay thankful is by eating a donut…before you do remember our saying:

As you go through life, make this your goal,
look at the donut and not the hole.

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