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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Religious Family Devotional of Thanksgiving


I've been wanting to write this for 5 years or more, but just didn't have the time when I was working in a church.  Here in Peru I have had more time, so I've worked the last 3 months on making this a reality :)  There are tons of advent and lent devotionals out there, but I haven't seen many religious ones available that concentrate solely on being thankful.  So, that was my goal!  A family-friendly, religious month long devotional on giving thanks ๐Ÿ’› (you can find it on teachers pay teachers - linked above - or Etsy)

When I first thought of the idea, I wanted to make it so that there would be enough devos to get you from Nov 1 to Thanksgiving.  However, as I wrote it, I realized that ONE, some people/countries don't celebrate Thanksgiving and people buy my products from all over the world, and TWO, this could be a Devotional of thanksgiving instead of a Thanksgiving Devotional.  So, you can use this any time of the year.  I do think that if you live in a country that celebrates a form of Thanksgiving (from scouring the internet, I believe Japan, Canada, and Germany do!) that this would compliment it nicely.  In addition, here in the US, November is not only Thanksgiving, but the PCUSA usually labels November as "Stewardship" month - which also fits nicely with the theme of the devotional.  So, however and whenever you want to use the 28 day devotional is totally up to you and/or your church.  I do mention the holiday of "Thanksgiving" in a couple of the devotionals, but it is certainly not a requirement.

If you and/or your church want to use this as a lead-in to Thanksgiving, here are a couple of suggestions.  Thanksgiving can fall anywhere from the 22nd-28th of November so I included 28 devos.  If you want to conclude the devotional ON Thanksgiving, take a look at the themes and feel free to swap some out that may be more/less relevant to your families.  Some may resonate more than others.  The devotionals are geared towards ages prek-elementary.

So what does each devotional include?

Each devotional has 6 parts.  Theme, Scripture, short child-friendly devo, call to action, "leaf activity", and a prayer.

1.  As seen in the picture above, each devotional has a theme as it's heading.  Each day is something new that you can be thankful for.  Along with the ones above, you can also find technology, sports, music, books, water, God's creation, food, family, etc.  

2.  Also as you can see above, each devotional begins with a Scripture that goes along with the theme for the day.  Unless indicated, the Scripture comes from the NRSV.

3.  Next comes the actual devotional.  As you can see above, a few of the days have activities to go along with the devotional.  I also included a few games, video links, boo suggestions, and I also included two of my other products - an ABC wordsearch to use with the theme "shelter" and a Car Bingo game that goes along with "Creation" - that you can use and play as a family.  

4.  After the devotional is a "call to action".  It's simply something the family can do together that day or sometime during the month.  It's not required, it's not something to stress families out, they are just ideas of ways they can respond to the devotional.  Some can be done sitting around the table, other times they can reach out to someone in the community, and other times they can go somewhere.  


5.  "Leaf" - this is an interactive and visual activity that will give each family a wonderful fall decoration to leave up and remind them of everything they are thankful for!  There are ideas included in the booklet (a few are above).  This is something each family can create at home...or, you can meet together at church for an intergenerational activity and create the trees together - as well as cutting out the leaves!  They can take their tree home and start their devotionals together!  I give them a suggestion/idea of what to write on their leaf for each day that goes along with the theme.

6.  Lastly, is the prayer.  Each devotional ends in a simple child-friendly prayer.  I did try and "mix it up" every now and then and make the prayer something different than just reading :) 

So there you go!  I hope you're as excited to use this with your families as I was to write it!  The devotional is $8 (link to etsy).  You will have to print out the 39+ pages yourself and put it together - which is why it's only $8.  If you provide the leaves as well as meet together to make the trees, then you would not need to include pages 36-37 or 40-42.  If you purchase this for your family, it is $8.  If you plan on getting it for your entire church or school, it is still $8.  If you are purchasing this for multiple churches, please buy one per church.  Also, if you purchase this for multiple families, I encourage you to make a donation of any size to Puriyninchik, which is an organization here in Peru that my husband and I helped with.  It is mentioned on day 27 - books and libraries.  Thank you :)

One last idea to throw out there - Assuming your church is on social media, it would be fun to incorporate your devotionals on Facebook or Instagram so that families can share what they are doing!  Create a hashtag for your church (thxdevo or something similar) so that you can see what each other is doing (and maybe share on your church's social media page!).  

God bless you and your church and all the work you put in for your children and families! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก