I honestly think I have the best job in the world. Working with GRC’s children and getting a front row seat to our kids’ faith formation is a great blessing. Most Sundays are filled with managing the logistics of Children’s Ministry. Though these Sundays are fun, the best Sundays are the ones where I am in the classroom. Every time I teach, I realize that the kids teach me more than I endeavor to teach them. This Sunday and last night at Kingdom prayer were no exception.
I asked our PreK and Kindergarten kids on Sunday to name for what they’re thankful. A theme in their responses centered around their families: “My family, my mom, my dad, my baby brother, my cousins.” The simple joy and pleasure our young children have from spending time with their families stands in marked contrast to the memes I’ve seen floating around Facebook and radio personalities’ conversations about how to manage difficulties with family at the holidays. Though challenging family members are a reality, our kids teach us that our families are a blessing; a blessing we often overlook.
Our kids also shared a theme of thankfulness centered around God’s practical blessings that we take for granted. At Kingdom Prayer last night with the children, we thanked God for “food on the table and a house to live in.” How many of us as adults are thinking about the food we’re eating at Thanksgiving and our homes? Instead our thoughts are on making three more pies, cleaning the bathroom, and washing the kitchen floor. Our children remind us to stop and thank God for his material blessings and to view them as just that and not a reminder of our to-do list.
The most encouraging responses of thankfulness that the kids shared are the most universal and profound. One sweet five-year old said, “I thank God for everything!” Another second grader shared, “I’m thankful for God and Jesus.” How easy it is as adults to forget as James 1:17 states, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Our God has given us every good gift and he is unchanging in his love to us. It was encouraging to be reminded of that by our children.
This Thanksgiving, let’s all take a moment to thank God as our children have and to view his blessings as they do. Let’s remember that our family members, as difficult as they may be, still are a gift from God. The food we enjoy and the homes that we enjoy them in are an amazing provision from God and are not just something that needs to be prepared for the holiday. Finally, for all who trust in Christ, let’s remember that our faith and relationship with God is our most amazing blessing. Our loving Father has given us every good and perfect gift and it is privilege to sit down with family and friends to tomorrow and take time to thank Him.
Karen Jacobsen is the Director of Children’s Ministry and Refuge 686, a ministry dedicated to adoptive and foster care.