Thanksgiving Archives

Hospitality Tips When Preparing for Guests

Since many of you will be having guests during the holidays, I thought these hints might be helpful. These were taken from my book Given to Hospitality Church or Home.

Being a good hostess does not require a formal education, but it is helpful to know a few basic tips. Some of the following tips I have learned by trial and error.

Several years ago, my husband and I became stewards of a large home. After we moved in, I was so excited about having the room to entertain, I invited twelve pastors and their wives over for dinner. Since I had moved from a house that had one bathroom to a house that had five bathrooms, I did not bother to check the supplies in each bathroom. During the evening, a distinguished pastor sheepishly had to come to me to ask for toilet paper…number 1 rule…make sure all your bathrooms have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and air freshener.

• Supply feminine products to guests by putting them in a pretty box or bag and place on the back of toilet.
• Clean house before guests arrive. Don’t rush around cleaning the house while guests are there.
• Chill drinks and make extra ice.
• Arrange furniture to maximize seating for everyone.
• Make sure table is set before guests arrive.

Overnight Guests

Overnight guests can sometimes feel uncomfortable being in an unfamiliar room. Try to make your guest room as comfortable as possible.

Items Needed for a Guest Room

1. A clean bed with extra bedding
2. An iron and ironing board
3. A comfortable reading chair
4. A good lamp and good selection of books
5. A good mirror
6. A clock
7. A box of tissue
8. A small sewing kit
9. A small trash can
10. A good supply of plastic hangers in the closet
11. A writing desk with pens, pencils, paper, scissors, and envelopes
12. A power strip for guests to plug in cell phones and other electronic devices
13. An index card with the code for wireless internet placed in desk drawer.
14. A welcome packet with information about the area
15. A folding luggage rack (this makes a convenient place for a guest to put his suitcase)

Tips to Make Overnight Guests Feel Special

• Leave a welcome gift and note.
• Leave two Hershey kisses or Mint Patties on pillows.
• Have a basket of fresh fruit, two stemmed glasses, and two bottles of water.
• Keep a snack tray available in the kitchen. This tray could include microwave popcorn, oatmeal bars, and individual bags of peanuts, hot chocolate mixes, and herbal teas.
• If your guest room is large enough, keep a compact fridge and stock it with waters, sodas, juices, and other snack items.
• If your guests have to share a bathroom, you might keep large terrycloth bathrobes in the closet.
• Place a TV with a DVD player and inspirational DVDs in guest room.
• Place a stuffed animal on a child’s bed to make him feel more secure.

Tips for Supplying a Guest Bath

When preparing for a guest bath, think about things that you might find in a nice hotel or an upscale Bed and Breakfast. You find nice plump towels, great toiletries, and fresh, clean smells.

Items Needed for a Guest Bath

1. Towels and washcloths
2. Extra toilet paper and tissues
3. Disposable cups
4. Fresh soap
5. Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste
6. Body lotion and moisturizer
7. Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray
8. Deodorant
9. New toothbrushes ,toothpaste, mouthwash
10. Waste basket
11. Air freshener
12. Razors
13. Bubble bath or bath oil (always a special treat)
14. Plunger under the sink
15. Night light

Consider keeping common medicines such as aspirin, anti-diarrhea pills, acid reducers, and a first-aid kit in your guest bath.

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Thanksgiving Promises

WHEN YOU COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, BEGIN HERE

Thank God for His Promises to Us

By Dr. Paul Chappell | November 19, 2015

When you begin your Thanksgiving gratitude list, what do you include? Most of us probably begin with God’s gifts of salvation, family, church family, and friends. We then move to tangible gifts such as shelter, clothing, vehicle, and financial provision. If we stay at our list long enough, we add events and highlights of the past year.

I want to encourage you this year to add a new category to your list. This category represents one of the greatest reasons to be thankful—and every item on the list can be found between the covers of your Bible.

What is it? God’s promises. Through God’s promises we have comfort for today and hope for tomorrow. Regardless of what we’re facing in the moment, God’s promises provide an unending reason for gratitude.

If you want to count your blessings, begin with God’s promises! Here are ten to get you started:

1. God’s presence: I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.—Hebrews 13:5

2. God’s protection: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.—Genesis 15:1

3. God’s power: I will strengthen thee.—Isaiah 41:10

4. God’s provision: I will help thee.—Isaiah 41:10

5. God’s leading: And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.—John 10:4

6. God’s purposes: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.—Jeremiah 29:11

7. God’s rest: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.— Matthew 11:28

8. God’s cleansing: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:9

9. God’s goodness: For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.—Psalm 84:11

10. God’s faithfulness: For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake.—1 Samuel 12:22

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Thanksgiving Poem and Quotes

I have taken this poem and quotes from the book my brother Gary Smith wrote entitled Life Changing Thoughts. If you do not have this book, I would recommend ordering one. Gary spent several years collecting poems, quotes, and ideas about many different subjects that you could use in your ministry. I have used his book many times when I have needed information to prepare bulletins,seasonal banquet programs, etc.

In Everything Give Thanks

Thru sunshine, cloud or stormy days,
When hope abounds or care dismays;
When trials press down and toils increase,
Let not thy faith in God decrease;
“In everything give thanks.”
For we know all things work for good,
Nor could we change them if we would;
It will be well if only He commands,
For all of His promises forever stand;
“In everything give thanks.”

• Be grateful for door of opportunity and for friends who oil the hinges.
• If I spend my time filling my heart with regrets of yesterday, and worries of tomorrow, I will have no time for giving thanks today.
• Thanksgiving is not a time of the year, but an attitude of the heart.
• It is better to appreciate things you don’t have, than to have things and not appreciate them.
• When all of our earthly resources have failed we can still give thanks, for we know God will never fail us.
• One of the most embarrassing moments for an atheist is when he knows he has been blessed, but he has no one to thank for it.
• I murmured and complained that I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.
• 0h Thou, who hast given us so very much, please grant us one thing more, a grateful heart.
• Be thankful for the Giver and not just the gift and for the Blessor and not just the blessings.
• When you are discouraged don’t just sit and frown; instead, get a piece of paper and write your blessings down.
• Don’t be sorry when your purse is half-empty; rather, be thankful that it is half-full.
• Boy to his sister: “I just don’t get it, dad thanks God for giving us our food, then he bawls mom out for the grocery bills!”

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    Thanksgiving Delights

On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!

By Joanna Fuchs

William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony
To All Ye Pilgrims: Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as He has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now, I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three, and third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor, and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation, George Washington in 1779
Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; Whereas, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness!” Now therefore, I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863
After George Washington authorized the first Thanksgiving Day in 1789, 74 years passed without another such day of thanks. Then, Abraham Lincoln authorized our annual Thanksgiving Day in 1863. He did this in the midst of the Civil War.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

Forgive Me When I Whine
Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely maid with golden hair; I envied her — she seemed so gay, and how, I wished I were so fair; When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle; she had one foot and wore a crutch, but as she passed, a smile. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two feet — the world is mine.

And when I stopped to buy some sweets, the lad who served me had such charm; he seemed to radiate good cheer, his manner was so kind and warm; I said, “It’s nice to deal with you, such courtesy I seldom find”; he turned and said, “Oh, thank you sir.” And then I saw that he was blind. Oh, God, forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.

Then, when walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue; he stood and watched the others play, it seemed he knew not what to do; I stopped a moment, then I said, “Why don’t you join the others, dear?” He looked ahead without a word, and then I knew he could not hear. Oh God, forgive me when I whine, I have two ears, the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I’d go; with eyes to see the sunsets glow, with ears to hear what I would know. I am blessed indeed. The world is mine; oh, God, forgive me when I whine.                                                                                        Source Unknown

True Gratitude, Melody Beattie
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. 

The Blessing Jar by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

My normally quiet house is bustling with activity as I’ve got lots of company spending the week here, with more expected this weekend. It looks like we’ll have fifteen to twenty people of all ages together for Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year, after a wonderful meal around candlelit tables, we gathered in the living room on sofas, chairs, and the floor. I printed out the following questions on slips of paper and put them in a “Blessing Jar.”

We passed the Blessing Jar around, and one at a time, different people (including children) picked a question out of the jar. Then, a few shared their response to that question. It was a sweet time of reflecting on God’s goodness and blessings in our lives over the past year.

Here are the questions I included in the Blessing Jar:

Name a song that has been a blessing to you this year.
Name one friend who has been a blessing to you this year.
What is one book that has been a blessing to you this year?
Share a Bible verse that has been a blessing to you this year.
Share one special memory from the past year for which you are grateful.
What is something about your church that has been a blessing to you this year?
How have you seen the heart of Jesus in a member of your family?
What is one financial or material blessing from the past year for which you are grateful?
How have you seen God at work in the life of an unbeliever this year?
What is one area of your life where you have seen God at work this year?
What is one answer to prayer you have experienced this year?
Share something from the past year that has been “hard,” for which you are grateful.

Blessing Box by Glenda Embree
We’re freshly moved and almost completely unpacked. As I sit here this morning, it occurs to me that we don’t have a Blessing Box this year. When our grown daughters were small we started this tradition. Over the years, we have had times when we were so caught up in life and just getting through it, that we didn’t really stop to enjoy everything in a day that is a blessing, a gift. There are so many, no matter what your present circumstances. A Blessing Box is a way, even for just a moment, to take a deep breath and be thankful, to stand still in the middle of your day and say, “Thank you, Lord. I know you’re in this and I am so blessed to ______________ . You fill in the blank.

Ideally, you will make this box, as a family, on Thanksgiving; and then have the whole year to get it ready for next Thanksgiving. You could hurry and whip one up for this year, but this is my personal experience when we have done that in “off” years. People tend to try to “fill the box” and so something is lost in the heartfelt thanks of the moment. It’s more about the box than being thankful. My suggestion is to work together on Thanksgiving Day and make it beautiful. Then take a year to “count your blessings”.  Next Thanksgiving, when you open that box and pour your “mountain of blessings” in the center of the table to read, you and your family will be reminded of just how much you have been blessed and cared for and as you read through what others have written, you will share and relive those awesome memories.

Decorating Tips

  • Place a tea light inside a carved out mini gourd to put at each place setting.
  • Place mini white or orange-stripe pumpkins on various height candlesticks. Add a vase filled with fall branches and a few gourds scattered around the area.
  • Place various size pillar candles on a mirror.  Scatter evergreen branches, pine cones and clementines around the candles.
  • Place a hollowed out white pumpkin in the center of your table. Fill it with a fall flower arrangement.
  • Place water-soaked florists’ foam on each tier of a 3-tiered cake stand. Place pomegranates, grapes, figs, and fresh fall flowers on each tier.
  • Place a water-soaked florist foam into a soup tureen. Place a combination of gourds and fall flowers in it.
  • Place cranberries in a clear vase. Add a painted white branch. Using yarn or string, fasten pictures of family members and friends to the branch. Call this your Thankful Tree.
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Poem “Forever Thankful”

Forever Thankful

Being forever thankful,
Is what God wants from us,
Never forgetting from where we came,
Or His boundless, saving love

All of heavens blessings
Poured down from heavens gates,
Everything we have in life,
He’s given with extra grace

We need to always thank Him
For this, and so much more
Not only for tangible things,
But because He is our Lord

Thanksgiving is the key
For His blessings to increase,
If we’ve not got thankful hearts,
His blessings soon will cease

Don’t ever start complaining
At what you may not have,
Look around at what you see,
Then be thankful and glad

© By M.S.Lowndes

 

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Idea for Thanksgiving Day Service

Thanksgiving Day is a great day to have a special service. Every year while we were ministering in Rhode Island, we had a Thanksgiving Day Service, and our people loved it.   My husband cancelled Wednesday evening service, in order for the women of the church to cook and to prepare for Thanksgiving Day. The service on Thanksgiving Day began at 10:30. This was always such a wonderful service. While the turkeys cooked in ovens, our people united their hearts together and offered thanksgiving and praise to the Lord for His many blessings on them for the year. Today my son and daughter-in-law have taken this tradition a step further. They invite their family members and all the church members who would like to join them to celebrate the day with them at church. My daughter-in-law cooks a large turkey and a large ham, and others bring side dishes.  After the service, everyone who wants to remain for Thanksgiving Dinner goes to the fellowship hall to enjoy great fellowship and good food.

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