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The Gift of Thanks

This Kids Korner article is from GCI Generations Ministries National Coordinator Jeffrey Broadnax.

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Most people are open to receiving words of appreciation, small gifts and other acts of kindness at any time of year. But during the seasons of Advent and Christmas, it seems that God uses such acts in a special way to open people’s hearts to Jesus and his love. So, let’s encourage our children and teens to take advantage of this opportunity by being intentional and personal in expressing appreciation to people in their congregation who they know (and even admire).

Proverbs 18:21 says that “life and death are in the power of the tongue” and that “those who love it will eat of its fruit.” The Message Bible offers this paraphrase: “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” Let’s encourage our kids to bless others during this time of year by choosing to speak heartfelt words of appreciation or by extending genuine compliments. Doing so will give other people hope, a reason to smile, and even strength to make it through a rough day. It’s amazing how much power a few words can have in blessing another person.

(source, quoting the Modern King James Version)

Two children in the congregation I pastor recently handmade gifts for me. As they handed them to me, they said, “It’s just because you are a great pastor.” Those gifts are now sitting in a prominent location on my desk at home—that’s how much what those kids did means to me. I still smile when I look at their gifts. But that’s not all. What they did makes me want to do something similar for others so they might share in the joy I am feeling. So, I texted a short message to a couple of friends to tell them that I love being their friend.

This month, during the season of Advent, why not ask the kids in your church to look around the congregation and make a small gift with a note to thank someone, such as:

  • the person who sets up the cookie table each week
  • the worship leaders who sing those cool songs
  • the person who runs the sound system
  • their pastor
  • the people who stick around to clean the church
  • their friend who plays with them before and after church each week

Encourage the kids in their notes to go beyond a mere “thank you” to specify what they are thankful for. I bet those giving and receiving such notes will be chewing on that spiritual fruit for a few days as together they experience the gift of Jesus’ love and joy.

Advent and Christmas blessing to you all!

Here are two videos that would make good introductions to a conversation in your youth group on this topic:

One thought on “The Gift of Thanks”

  1. „I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.“

    -Gilbert K. Chesterton

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