Thanksgiving and Service FHE Lesson

by Jen Johnson, Digitized and adapted by Lara Goold

Materials needed: Scriptures Purpose: This lesson is meant to be given early in November as a way to turn our hearts to gratitude and service during this season. Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude and remembrance of all the goodness in our lives. No matter what our circumstances, the Lord has blessed each one of us tremendously. One of the best ways to show our gratitude and love for Heavenly Father is to serve His children. With that in mind, this lesson will help us all to think of more ways to help those around us and it will also encourage us to come up with a plan of daily service.

Scripture:

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me...”
Matthew 25:40

Opening song(s) and prayer: “Count Your Blessings,” Hymns, page 241 “Children All Over the World,” Children’s Songbook, page 16

Lesson: Ask: Do you know what holiday is coming up next? (or if you’re using this another time of year other than November, ask do you know what holiday is in late November.) Briefly (in 2 minutes or less) discuss the origins of Thanksgiving and how the people who came to America had suffered so much and were so happy to be friends with the Indians and to have a bounteous harvest, that they decided to make a feast dedicated to showing gratitude to God. Emphasize the service the Indians showed to the Pilgrims by teaching them to grow corn and to hunt and fish and also the service the Pilgrims showed the Indians by sharing supplies. Relate: Now we still celebrate Thanksgiving and use it as a time to remember many of the blessings that we’ve been given. This lesson is dedicated to showing us a way that we can show our gratitude to God every day not just by saying thank you, but by helping others. Erin, the Good Samaritan: Read or retell the enclosed story, using the visuals provided. Scripture Reading (with visuals): Read Matthew 25:31-45 that includes “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren ye have done it unto me.” Read it straight from the scriptures (using the visuals as you go), explaining as you feel you need to. One way to elaborate on this idea is to talk about Jesus actually being here.

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Ask: “What if Jesus were here, living with us? What kinds of nice things would you want to do for Him? What if He needed help? What if He were sick? Relate: Jesus isn’t here, but our brothers and sisters are. Remember that when we serve others, it’s like we’re serving Jesus. Transition to the next activity by asking for ideas of how they can show service. I feel that it is really important (especially for older kids who may be involved in big service projects with the youth) to remind the children that service doesn’t have to be big or time consuming to be meaningful service. While big service projects are important and wonderful, it’s the day-to-day small acts of service (often right in our own homes or at school) that can often be the most meaningful. Service Matching Game This fun matching game will give them ideas of things they can do to show service. Some of the ideas are pretty funny, but it should be effective for continuing the conversation about ways they can serve those around them. Month of Service Calendar I recommend having this calendar laminated and backed with adhesive magnets, so you can hang it on the fridge each year for the month of November. Use dry erase markers to make a little check next the service that’s been performed. Make it a challenge as a family to fill all the days in with service. Some children will eagerly come tell you when they’ve performed a service, but make sure that you diligently look for the quieter acts, or for the child who doesn’t draw attention to themselves in that way. This is all about positive reinforcement and encouraging them to make service a part of their daily lives. Real Life Service Conclude by briefly sharing an experience when someone’s small act of service has really blessed your life. Or sometime when you felt inspired to give service.

Bear Testimony of the blessings that come from serving others.
Closing song: “Because I Have Been Given Much,” Hymns, page 219 “Love One Another,” Children’s Songbook, page 136 Closing Prayer: Refreshments: See below for a yummy recipe Enrichment: Based on the ages and attention spans of your children, choose one or more of the following enrichment activities to enhance the message of the lesson. Enrichment activities do not necessarily need to be completed on the same night as the lesson. We often use them as reinforcement/reminders during the week.

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Enrichment ideas :
Drawing Activity: Pass out paper and coloring supplies and have the children draw pictures or write ways that can show love for Jesus by helping others. Build off the Month of Service Calendar mentioned in the outline: Have each person make their own calendar, adding their own ideas for service. Family Service Project: Find a project that you can complete together as a family. Gratitude/Service Chain: Cut strips out of construction paper, have the kids write down things they’re grateful for AND acts of service that they’ve performed. Using a stapler or tape, create a chain. Have everyone add a couple each day and see how long your chain can grow.

Sour Cream Apple Bars
From http://recipeshoebox.blogspot.com. Crust: 1 cup butter, softened 1 cup brown sugar 2 cups quick cooking oats 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup chopped pecans 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 1/4 tsp. allspice Filling: 1 cup sour cream 3/4 cup sugar 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour 1 egg 2 tart medium apples, peeled and shredded (I used Granny Smith) Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. FOR CRUST: In a large bowl, combine softened butter with brown sugar and beat until creamy. Add oats, flour, pecans, baking soda, cinnamon, and allspice and beat until well mixed. Press 2/3 of crust mixture onto bottom of ungreased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. FOR FILLING: Combine all the filling ingredients and mix well. Gently pour the filling over the hot, partially baked crust. Crumble the remaining crust mixture over the top of the filling and press down lightly. Bake for an additional 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown and the center is set. Cool. Cut into bars. Enjoy!

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Use this visual to show while you are summarizing the story of the First Thanksgiving.

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“Erin, the Good Samaritan,”
Pamela Brayton, “Erin, the Good Samaritan,” Friend, Sep 1993

“Who knows the parable of the Good Samaritan?” Sister Stewart (1)asked her CTR class. “I do!” exclaimed Erin, (2) raising her hand. “It’s the story about the man who was hurt by robbers and two different men passed him by and the Good Samaritan stopped and helped.” “Very good, Erin. Thank you. Not only did the Good Samaritan stop and help, but he took the man to an inn. Let’s read about it in Luke 10:30–35. Who brought scriptures today?” The children took turns reading the verses. Then Sister Stewart asked, “Dan, what did the Good Samaritan do at the inn?” “He gave the innkeeper money and asked him to take care of the injured man.” “That’s right. Not only did the Good Samaritan help the injured man, but he went the extra mile and made sure that he would be cared for after they were at the inn. I challenge each of you to perform a service for someone this week and to go the extra mile. We’ll talk about some of your experiences next Sunday in class.” On the way home from church, Erin tried to think of something she could do. It must be something for someone who really needs my help, she decided. But she couldn’t think of anything. That night as she knelt by her bed (3), she asked Heavenly Father to help her find someone who really needed her help. Days went by and nothing happened. Erin did a lot of good service. She helped with the dishes and made refreshments for family home evening, for instance. But they were all things she always did. Mother and Father were always grateful for Erin’s helpfulness and often told her so. But now Erin wanted to do something special. Finally Sunday came again. A whole week had gone by, and no one other than her own family had needed Erin’s help. She sat in the car for a while watching people walk by on their way into the church. What will I tell Sister Stewart and my class? she wondered as she got out of the car to go in for Sunday School opening exercises. Just then the Armstrong family’s green van (4) rumbled loudly into the parking lot. There were five children in the family, all under six years old. Sister Armstrong obviously had been in a hurry all morning, because her hair was still wet and one of the children was still eating a piece of toast. Brother Armstrong, a member of the bishopric, had come to church for early morning meetings, so Sister Armstrong was left alone to get herself and her five children dressed in their Sunday clothes and be to church on time. As Erin watched, Sister Armstrong searched for two-year-old Lizzy’s shoes, which had been kicked under the seat. Sister Perkins rushed by with her arms full of books, flowers, and papers, calling, “Good morning, Sister Armstrong!” As Sister Armstrong struggled to put Lizzy’s shoes (5) back on her, baby Mark spit up all over his clothes. Three-year-old Crystal had given gum to everyone while her mother wasn’t looking, and now four-year-old Ashley had gum stuck in her pretty braid. The only one who wasn’t causing a problem was five-year-old Marilyn, who had been sent into church by her mom to find her father. In the midst of all the confusion, Sister Armstrong sat down and cried. Suddenly Erin realized that the Armstrong family was the answer to her prayers. She set her scriptures down and rushed over to the van. Erin said earnestly, “Let me help you (6), Sister Armstrong. What can I do first?” “Erin, you’re a lifesaver!” exclaimed Sister Armstrong (7) as she dried her eyes. For
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Together they put Lizzy’s shoes back on, cleaned up baby Mark (8), and got the gum out of Ashley’s hair. Then Erin grabbed her scriptures before carrying Mark and the diaper bag into church. Partway up the hall they met Brother Armstrong (9). “I see you’ve found yourself a Good Samaritan,” he said as he scooped up Mark and led the way into the chapel. Erin sat with the Armstrongs during opening exercises, then offered to take Lizzy and Crystal to their Primary classes. “You’ve been a great help this morning, Erin. Thank you very much,” said Sister Armstrong. “I’d like to help every Sunday, if that’s all right. I can wait outside for you and then sit with you during Sunday School opening exercises.” Sister Armstrong was very glad to accept Erin’s help. As she walked down the hall to her own class, Erin thought about the smile on Sister Armstrong’s face. A warm tingle flowed from Erin’s head to her toes. She had met the challenge to serve and go the extra mile. That night as Erin knelt by her bed, she thanked Heavenly Father for guiding her to the Armstrong family and helping her learn how wonderful it felt to serve others and go the extra mile.

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“Erin, the Good Samaritan,” flannel board figures.

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Matthew 25::31-45—flannel board figures (Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these…” out and using binder rings (or staples) make into a small booklet.

Cut

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For
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For
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For
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ready‐to‐print
FHE
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For
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FHE
lessons
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For
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FHE
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For
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FHE
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