Making Much of Jesus at the Thanksgiving Holidays


A time where family and friends gather to remember the abundance of blessings bestowed upon them during the year.

A time where a harvest of food and lighthearted fun is shared around a table.

Where memories are made and the holiday season begins.

With all the focus on food, family, activities and Pinterest perfect tables, how much of Jesus do you put your focus on during the season of Thanksgiving?

Making Much of Jesus At Thanksgiving - Melanie Redd

Making Much of Jesus at the Thanksgiving Holidays

At our Thanksgiving table, we have a tradition…

Every person shares what

they are “thankful for” from the past year.

We began this at the very first Thanksgiving we hosted in our home.

Our children were young and they grew up knowing that if there was only one time and one time only, it was at the Thanksgiving table we shared our grateful hearts with one another.

To make it even more fun for the children and to teach them how important being thankful is, we incorporated these fun activities over the years:


~ Beginning November 1st, our family would leave a THANKFUL JAR in the middle of the table and every time we were thankful for something during the month, we would write it on a slip of paper and place it in the jar. These would be shared during dessert on Thanksgiving Day. We enjoyed trying to guess who wrote each one.


A THANKFUL TREE was made out of items found on a nature walk and we would post what we were thankful for Thanksgiving morning on colored leaves. We would then hang the leaves on the tree branches to be shared after our meal. Even our guests for dinner would participate.


SCRIPTURE PLACE CARDS. When the children were older, each child had to find bible verses representing thankfulness and write them down on place cards to set at each person’s table setting. They could be as creative as they wanted to decorate their cards. It was always a joy to see what verses they chose and see their creativity in action.

These were a few ways we taught our children the importance of making much of Jesus during the Thanksgiving season.

It also served as a testimony to extended family and friends who otherwise thought of Thanksgiving Day as just another day. It gave the holiday purpose.

  • What about when Thanksgiving Day is over?
  • Does Jesus and the spirit of Thanksgiving remain in your heart?
  • Do you continue to make much of Him as you prepare for Christmas and beyond?
  • Or is He only there once a year at the Thanksgiving table?

Making Much of Jesus At Thanksgiving - Melanie Redd

The spirit of Thanksgiving and making much of Jesus needs to be in our thoughts and hearts every single day.

Giving thanks for not only the big moments in our lives or the answered prayers we spent so much time praying over but in all the little, insignificant moments that make up our days.

Making much of Jesus when we are preparing dinner and giving thanks for the modern conveniences of cooking a meal.

And, making much of Jesus when we are taking a warm shower, giving Him thanks for running water.

Making much of Jesus when our car breaks down and being thankful we have a cell phone to call for help.

Making much of Jesus as we tuck our little ones in at night, thanking Him for the gift of children, when many suffer from infertility.

There is ALWAYS SOMETHING TO BE THANKFUL for every day. Click To Tweet

Colossians 3:17

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

Here are FIVE WAYS to make much of Jesus as a part of your everyday life:

1} Keep a Thankful Journal.

Write down what you are thankful for every day, giving Jesus the glory.

2} Appreciate Someone.

When you are having a complaining, grumpy day, find one person who you can show a little appreciation to. It can be with a kind word or deed.

3} Share the Love.

Offer yourself up to bless other people. Give a gift or make a card for someone who is going through a rough time. Collect items for a food shelf, or donate gently used toys to a shelter.

4} Volunteer.

There is so much need in the world. Even a couple hours a week can make a difference in a life. Make much of Jesus by giving your time.

5} Thank God Before You Sleep.

If keeping a thankful journal is not your thing, at least thank God every night before you lay your head down to sleep for three things you are thankful for from your day.

He hears every one of them.

                                    Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
                                    It turns what we have into enough, and more…
                                    It turns problems into gifts, failures into successes,
                                    the unexpected into perfect timing,
                                    and mistakes into important events.
                                                                     Melody Beattie

Making Much of Jesus At Thanksgiving - Melanie Redd

As we gather together this Thanksgiving, let us make much of Jesus in both our heart and our spirit and be the blessed testimony to those He puts in our path.

Let us be grateful for the abundant life He has given in our days ahead. Click To Tweet

*Special thanks to Michelle Streeter for this beautiful reminder to be grateful and to teach our children and grandchildren to be grateful as well! You have blessed us with your message today, Michelle!

Thank you for sharing your heart and your life with us! 

Michelle’s Bio

  • Michelle is married to her husband of 29 years.Making Much of Jesus At Thanksgiving - Melanie Redd
  • Mother to three lovely daughters, all grown up and “Grammie” to her two precious grandchildren.
  • A transitional kindergarten teacher by day she considers it a privilege teaching little ones the love of Jesus along with instilling in them a love for learning.
  • She blogs at Grammie Time remembering to let these words guide her in everything she  writes; “Let everything you say be good and helpful so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

**And, would you do me a favor — if this article has encouraged you today — would you share it with someone else?

© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

44 thoughts on “Making Much of Jesus at the Thanksgiving Holidays

  1. Such great traditions! I will be borrowing some to start with my 1 year old twins! And good reminders of how to be thankful each day. I need to get better about that!

    Visiting from #SHINEbloghop

    1. Hey Lauren,

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a good word today. And, I love the idea of starting some of these traditions with your 1 year old twins! They are not too young to start learning. And, you can make them think whatever you do is the most normal thing in the world!

      Sounds like you are a great mom!
      Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Michelle….I loved the way you all incorporate the idea of gratefulness always and not just on Thanksgiving Day. What great way to teach thankfulness daily. Thank you for the encouragement ladies. Blessings.

  3. I love all of these ideas, Melanie! It is so important to teach children when they are young, the importance of being thankful. Thanks for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Blessings and hope you link up again this week 🙂

    1. Aren’t these some great ideas for Thanksgiving!

      I really appreciate Michelle and all of the suggestions she has shared!

      And, thank you for stopping by to leave a kind word!

  4. I loved reading this post! So good and true! If we are true shining lights of Jesus, we must then shine so bright we help others see HIS love in the darkness! With my boys we are doing a thankful tree all month ling where we write on each leaf what we are thankful for and put it on the tree! It is good for them, but also for me. 🙂

    1. The thankful tree! Another favorite of many. Very good for the whole family and guests too who otherwise would not know Jesus. A great topic of conversation.

  5. Such a wonderful post, filled with ideas to make Thanksgiving more meaningful. It has been on my heart to do something different around our table this year so this was timely 🙂 Thank you for sharing this. May you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

    1. Aren’t these great ideas, Holly!

      And, you are right – Michelle is a wonderful model of a wife, mom, and grandma!

      So grateful we have all gotten to know each other through blogging!

      Hope you have a blessed weekend~

  6. Oh Michelle, what a delightful post! You’ve shared so many great ideas.

    In Canada, our Thanksgiving is in October (and always early in the month). I may have to start the thankful jar idea in September… I just love that! I write 10 things I’m thankful for every day – and the practice keeps me grateful to the Lord and brings me much contentment.

    Lovely post! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Jennifer, We always began it the first of November so we would have all month to write. Once the girls grasped the concept when they were young, some days the jar would be full. They use to get carried away. Looking forward to reading your post too.

  7. So many great ideas here, Michelle! Thank you. I love the thankful jar, especially reading them during dessert. I may have to start that tradition for my family as well. We go around the table and tell what we are thankful for, so I think the jar would be a perfect addition to that. I also want to add scriptures to the table. Love that one!

    1. Candace, I think the jar was all of the family’s favorite too. Especially when our girls were younger. It took the pressure off them of sharing when they were in the “shy” stages of being a teenager. It also made it more fun when we all guessed wrong. Thanks for stopping and leaving your sweet comment.

  8. I enjoyed this post so much! So many God-honoring ideas!

    I especially loved the quote at the end of the post by Melody Beattie. That is one to remember and hold close!

    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am thankful you stopped by Kathleen to visit Melanie and I. I do hope you will stop by during the rest of the series to see what others are sharing too. Blessings to you!

  9. Melanie and Michelle, thank you for this wonderful reminder to celebrate the essence of my favorite holiday. For the past several months, I have been trying to end my day with a time of prayer, going back over the events of the day and very purposefully looking for things to be thankful for. It’s great to go to sleep with this as my last conscious thought, and the process makes it easier in the morning for me to write down three blessings in my gratitude journal.
    Thankful for each of you and your ministries!

    1. Michele, when I began doing this for “myself” a long time ago, it reminded me that God told us to “be thankful in all things.” For me, the end of the day is like completing the day and starting with a clean slate. Like last night, I thanked God for warm socks. Why, because my feet were cold and it made me think of the homeless who are sleeping in the chilly night and I was grateful for the fact that my feet were not cold and I had a warm bed. See, simple things. I feel like God is smiling when we don’t take little things like “socks” for granted. I could be wrong!

  10. This is beautiful Michelle. Sets the right mood and thoughts for the season.
    Well Written friend.
    God Bless

  11. I always believe gratitude can bring you places. Because a thankful heart just keeps going and is always open for blessings.

    1. This is so true Lux! An open heart brings in joy and contentment when we take the time to be thankful. Teaching children in today’s culture is crucial to raising grateful beings.

  12. I love your Thanksgiving ideas, Michelle! Especially the placemat verses and the Thankful jar. We have a Thankful jar that we’ve been using year round this year. It sounds like you have found very special ways to make Thanksgiving exactly what it is supposed to be about. Great post!

    1. My sweet Ruthie… I can see you having a thankful jar too! It is one of my favorite ways to show gratefulness because we often forget the things we mention at the beginning of the month. To revisit them later on always makes my heart flutter.

  13. I really enjoyed your post Michelle.You offer some great tips to help our children be thankful during the holidays. There is always something be thankful for everyday! Thank you for this encouraging reminder.

  14. Thank you again Melanie for giving me the privilege to write during this wonderful series. I do hope a life or two are touched between now and the end of the holiday series on what you will be sharing. Blessings ….

    1. Thank you, Michelle!

      I do believe God is going to do some amazing things in the lives of our friends and readers over the next 7 weeks! Thanks for kicking us off with such a practical and positive post!

      You are a blessing~

    2. Thank you, Michelle!

      I believe many will read and be encouraged during this series. Thank you for starting us off with such a positive and practical post about gratitude and thankfulness!

      You are a blessing~

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