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Harvest Thanksgiving

To help children give thanks for their food - even if it isn't their favourite!

by The Revd Sophie Jelley

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help children give thanks for their food – even if it isn’t their favourite!

Preparation and materials

  • You will need a very large cardboard box filled with packing material (maize is ideal).

  • Place a variety of different foods in the box to create a lucky dip.

  • A Children’s Bible.

Assembly

  1. Hands up if you always remember to say thank you for your food? Hands up if you always remember to say thank you for the food you really like, but don’t like saying thank you for the food that isn’t your favourite (you could ask for examples).

    Harvest is the time of year when we give thanks for all of the food we have. It goes right back to the days of the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible – hold it up) when Jewish people said thank you to God for all the crops they had been able to grow during the year.

  2. Say that you have brought a harvest lucky dip to help us think about how we can be thankful for our food. Ask for volunteers to come up one at a time, find something in the lucky dip, say what it is and hold it up for everyone to see.

    Continue this until all the items of food are found, then ask the volunteers to stand in line, holding their items up for everyone to see.

  3. Hands up if you really like all of these foods. Even if you don’t like them, we are really lucky to have so much lovely food to choose from, and enough of it to eat every day. In some parts of the world children do not have enough.

  4. Explain that there’s a story in the New Testament (the second part of the Bible – hold it up) where Jesus heals ten people who are suffering from a disease called leprosy. All of them are delighted and very excited. They rush off to show other people what has happened. Only one of them remembers to come back and thank Jesus for what he has done. The other nine do not.

    Which would you be – like the one who said thank you or like the nine who didn’t? Saying thank you for everything is so important. It helps our friends and families to know that we value them. Christians believe that God is also very pleased when we say thank you to him.

Time for reflection

Reflection:

Close your eyes and think for a moment about meal times in your house.
Do you remember to say thank you to the person who prepared your meal?
Do you think about all the people who grew the food and prepared it for sale?
Perhaps you even want to say thank you to God for all the food on the table, either out loud or silently in your head.
Think about what you will do today.

Prayer:

Open your eyes now.
We are going to pray with our eyes open today so that we can say thank you to God for all the foods that are in front of us.
Hold them up nice and high.
(Go along the line as you pray and describe each item.)
Thank you, God, for … crunchy peanut butter.
Thank you, God, for … heavy watermelons (etc.).

Amen.

(You could repeat this if the children have enjoyed it – it can be funny to thank God for things they don’t much like, e.g. bright green sprouts.)

Song/music

‘Thank you, Lord' (Come and Praise, 32) – you could create your own harvest verses
‘Lord of the harvest’ (Come and Praise, 133)

Publication date: October 2005   (Vol.7 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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