There’s always a time to feel thankful and a time to be thankful. Feeling thankful acknowledges good things can’t always be taken for granted. Encouraging children to say ‘thank you’ to God and others is not just good manners, it also helps them to show love for God and other people.
Harvest Festival is a big thank you time: a time of year when for years, those who relied on local farming were thankful for the food that the earth provided, and to God for taking care of them.
Today, for most of us, food comes already picked and packed from a supermarket or the delivery van, not our own fields – so perhaps it’s even more important now to remember that our food comes from God’s creation, and to thank God and everyone who harvests and prepares it for us.
Saying thank you to God at Harvest Festival
Check out the Harvest Festival services near you. Most churches hold a Harvest Festival service in the Autumn. Families can get involved in decorating the church and in taking gifts to the special service. Schools often get involved too – it’s a good opportunity to talk together about thankfulness.
A way to pray for farmers
Lots of fruit and veg at the supermarket now has the name of the farmer printed on the container. You can put a sheet of paper up in your home, with “Thank you, God, for our food” at the top, and then your child can cut and stick the names of all the farmers onto the rest of the sheet every time you go shopping. When you eat, you can say, “thank you, God, and (all the names) for our food!” (And then finish by thanking those who cooked and will clean up the meal.)
Thank You For …
Thanking God and those who make our food can help us remember to be grateful for the other good things in life. Maybe at bedtime you and your child can take turns thinking of things to be grateful to God for – from the profound to the very silly!
Or maybe you can finish each day by thinking about all the people you met that day and thanking God for how they help you: the bin man who clears up your rubbish, the lady at the shop who helps you find what you need, the toddler group leaders who sing and cut up bananas, the man on the bus who helped with your pushchair, the doctors looking after Granddad. There’s a lot to be thankful for every day.