November Ideas for Family Night

The first Sunday in November is always celebrated as All Saints Sunday at Holy Trinity.
On that Sunday, families (and individuals) who wish to commemorate a loved one are invited to join the procession and place a lighted memorial candle on the altar.

Just come to the narthex before the beginning of the worship service and join the formation of the procession.

Be sure to bring a votive candle with you from home. Your votive candle must be in a glass votive candle holder (Suggested colors for the candle holder are clear or white.)

During the processional, you will carry your lit candle to the altar and then place your lit candle on the altar as you speak aloud the name of the person you are remembering before God. These are the saints. Their lights still shine before the throne of God.

After worship, please remember to take your candle home with you, to use during your personal or family devotions. This is a very moving experience for everyone. Be sure to involve your children. They can come up with you as you carry the candle and name the name before God, or they can carry a candle and name the name themselves. Be sure to spend some time with your children teaching and preparing them to participate in this experience.

In the weeks before Thanksgiving, be sure to take the time to teach your children what Thanksgiving is all about — and WHO it is that we are thanking and why.

As we think of the Pilgrims who established the first Thanksgiving Day, we need to recall the reason they left the land of their birth and came to the New World. The separatist pilgrims were not allowed to worship God freely in England by The Church of England.So in August of 1620, they boarded two small ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower, in search of religious freedom in undeveloped America.

The Speedwell soon sprung leaks and most of the crew and passengers transferred to the Mayflower before the Speedwell turned back. There were 102 Pilgrims who suffered 67 days of rough sailing before they finally landed in Plymouth Bay in November, 1620. Their troubles were just beginning. No housing awaited them. No reception group. No hospitals or schools or stores. A cold winter lay ahead with sickness for most of them. At one point, only six people were well enough to help the sick and the dying.

In March 1621, not even a year after arriving, only 51 of the original 102 remained alive. It would be another two years before a ship arrived carrying supplies to help them. They were compelled to live off the land in whatever way they could. Fortunately, the Wampanoag Indians taught the pilgrims how to plant corn, how to fish the waters, how to find game, how to live without the comforts of Holland or England.

The newcomers built houses. They farmed. They fished. They filled a storehouse with corn and other foods. At the end of the first harvest, they decided to hold a feast of celebration and give thanks to God. They wanted to show God how thankful they were for their freedom to worship as their hearts desired.

The Pilgrims invited their Native American friends to enjoy the occasion with them. Ninety came and stayed for three days of worship, feasting, games, and merrymaking. The menu at that first Thanksgiving included deer, fish, lobster, and wild turkey.

The main point to remember is that the Pilgrims were willing to pay an enormous price for the freedom to worship as they chose. They were profoundly grateful to God for giving them this freedom! Here in America, no established church harassed them, no government agency restricted them, and no one ridiculed or arrested them. They were free to worship ion the manner they chose. And they did just that!

On Thanksgiving Day this year, like our Pilgrim ancestors, we also will thank God for America’s abundance of food; we also will feast, play games, and make merry with friends and family. May we also be profoundly grateful for our freedom to worship as our hearts desire.

Get Ready for Thanksgiving with a “Thankfulness Tree”
You will need:
Posterboard (any color)
Construction paper (autumn colors)
Construction paper (brown or black)

Cut out a tree-trunk using the brown or black construction paper.
Cut out handprints (several for each person) from ‘autumn colors” construction paper.
Write what you are thankful for on each handprint (these are the leaves)
Glue the tree trunk to the posterboard.
Glue the leaves to the trunk.
Hang the Thankfulness Tree somewhere in your kitchen.

Get Ready for Thanksgiving with a decoration of Melted Crayon Art
From the old crayons that may have accumulated among your children’s toys, gather up a good selection in fall colors. Use a vegetable peeler or crayon sharpener to turn the crayons into shavings.  Keep colors separate in small Dixie cups or baby food jars. On art paper or manilla construction paper, draw an outline of a Thanksgiving object such as a turkey, pumpkin, horn of plenty, fall leaf, etc. Place drawing on ironing board, first protecting ironing board cover with a layer of waxed paper.  Lightly sprinkle shavings to color in areas of the picture. Carefully cover picture with waxed paper.  Iron carefully (heating iron on LOW) and apply pressure just long enough to melt shavings onto paper.
Allow drawing to cool slightly.  Remove waxed paper from your work of art.  You may want to cut out your drawing before hanging.

The Week before Thanksgiving:

  • As a loving tradition, invite a few guests to dinner who have no family nearby & who might have nowhere to go on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Bake cookies for someone you know is homebound.

The Night Before Thanksgiving:

  • Come to Thanksgiving Eve Worship
  • Bring canned food for the Interfaith Food Pantry to worship with you.
  • Don’t forget to put out food for the backyard wildlife.

Make Thanksgiving Cards or Placecards for everyone who will be at dinner with you (whether the dinner is at your house or not).  For placecards: Fold a plain 3×5 card. Write each person’s name on the outside. On the inside, write a personal “thank you for …” message. Suggest that every member of your family add a “thank you’ to the card. Make Thanksgiving cards out of folded construction paper.

A Special Thanksgiving Prayer: 
My God, I want to think back over all Your mercies toward me and tell the world about them with a thankful heart. Let my bones be soaked in Your love until all my being cries out “Lord, who is like You? You burst open the chains that bound me, I will offer to You the sacrifice of praise.” (St. Augustine of Hippo)

Right AFTER Thanksgiving grace,
Go around the table, giving each person an opportunity to name some special person for whom he or she is especially is especially grateful to God this Thanksgiving. Let the host & hostess speak first. If this turns into part of the Thanksgiving Dinner conversation, so much the better.

Fun at the Kid’s Table         (Pastor Mike keeps telling me not to print stuff like this, but I can’t resist!)

Hey kids!  Stuck for another year at the Kid’s Table for Thanksgiving dinner?  Don’t be upset.  The thing about the Kid’s Table is, since everyone there is a kid to begin with, the rules are a little more relaxed.  As long as no one chokes or loses an eye or bleeds real blood, you’re generally OK.

Here are some of the things Pastor Mandy and her cousins used to do at the Kid’s Table.  Keep in mind that parental patience varies from family to family, so don’t blame Pastor Mandy if mom hauls you off by the ear.

1.  Using mashed potatoes, form the North American continent, using butter for the Great Lakes and peas for the Rockies.  Then explain to the other kids how a meteorite from space squashed the dinosaurs, by hurling a bread roll into the Gulf of Mexico (gravy) at high speeds.

2.  Have a gravy gargling contest.  Once you have all your cousins gargling, sneak behind one of them, yell “Look!  It’s Old Faithful!” and then jab her in her ticklish spots.

3.  They’re called drumsticks for a reason.

4.  Pretend that you are actually sitting at the adults’ table.  Make conversation like adults using the following words: Mortgage, Layoff, Carburetor, 401(k), Cellulite, Senate Committee, and Prostate.

5.  Tell all your cousins how you once heard there was this guy who was so greedy that he actually ate an entire turkey, bones and all, and how the turkey actually glued itself back together inside the guy’s stomach and then pecked its way out, just like the thing in “Aliens”.  Once you’ve got them hooked, hit them with the kicker — “And you know who that guy was?  It was ME !!!” Then clutch your chest with the hand that you’ve secretly put cranberry sauce in, and let the sauce spill out, simulating blood and guts.

Gosh I miss sitting at the Kid’s Table

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