Thanksgiving 2022 | JOY for Today

(Updated 11.16.2023)

With a heart full of praise, that's how we hope you're entering this Thanksgiving season. There are many reasons to be thankful in every circumstance. Challenge yourselves (and others) to find those reasons - even in the difficult moments. This is how we stay rooted in JOY, friends!

A window decorated for Thanksgiving peers out over a street lined with autumn leaves. The verse Psalm 9:1 is written over the top with a reminder that Thanksgiving is November's fourth Thursday along the bottom.

JOY for Today Offerings:

Did You Know:

  1. There were only four women present at the first Thanksgiving? While there were around 140 attendees - 90 Wampanoag and 50 colonists - only four of them were women. (The Fact File &
  2. Turkey is now the most commonly served food on Thanksgiving? So much so that Thanksgiving is often referred to as "Turkey Day." As a country we gobble up over 45 million turkeys annually. However, turkey was not the main course at the first Thanksgiving dinner where deer, seafood, and wildfowl were served. (The Fact File)
  3. "Jingle Bells" was originally a Thanksgiving song? Written by James Lord Pierpont, it was originally titled "One Horse Open Sleigh." Another well-known Thanksgiving song is "Over the River and Through the Woods." (The Fact FileCNN & Making Music Fun)
  4. The TV dinner emerged as a solution to Thanksgiving leftovers? A salesman at Swanson faced a dilemma involving an overabundance of frozen turkey, 260 tons to be precise. His solution was to package it in compartmentalized aluminum trays along with the traditional sides of sweet potatoes and stuffing. The trays were then frozen and packaged with oven reheating instructions. (The Fact File &
  5. In 2021, Thanksgiving ranked as the most popular holiday in the United States? Christmas came in second and Halloween tenth. See where your favorite holidays rank at

We'd Love to Know:

Which fact is new to you?

Wolfe Stew Connects

The Bible is full of verses telling us to be thankful and of good cheer. Often, I hear these verses and quickly dismiss them as platitudes routinely uttered by good Christians when times were good. Rarely, do I welcome these verses as a difficult challenge to undertake that leads to spiritual growth.

My introduction to understanding Godly thankfulness and joy came in the depths of the COVID era. It came on a walk with the Mr., which we frequently took to shake loose some of the stress. Often, on these walks, we would commiserate. But, on this particular walk, I was walking alone in my frustration next to an annoyingly chipper Mr. After interrupting my tirade to point out how beautiful the grass was (The GRASS!), I willed a lightning bolt to strike him from the thunderstorm that was raging in my head. Then, suddenly, a long-forgotten lyric drowned out my raging storm (from Maranatha! Music):
Shaken, I tried to decipher the meaning. Why this lyric? Why now? And why is it a sacrifice of praise anyway? Could it be that God wants our praise even when we really don't feel like giving it? Even in the middle of our storm cloud moments? He wants us to praise Him in this storm? (Inspired by Casting Crowns.)

Yes! He does! He wants our thanksgiving continually (I Thessalonians 5:16-18) - whether we're surrounded by rainbows and butterflies or by storm clouds and lightning bolts.

Now, when I am walking with a storm cloud over my head, I remember that I need to offer up a sacrifice of praise. Admittedly, the sacrifice is only offered after an internal fight on my part. But ever since I've experienced its effectiveness, I always find my way to the altar. At the altar, I start by reminding myself how good God is. No matter what other thoughts fight for center stage in my mind, I can always make room for God, His goodness, and "how great His affection is for me" (lyric from "How He Loves" by the David Crowder Band). Once I offer the sacrifice, the storm clouds begin to part. It rarely ends the storm immediately, but it does start the process. Light always starts shining through.

As we walk toward Thanksgiving, I hope your heart is filled with JOY and your mind is abounding in thankfulness. But, if not, I encourage you to try offering God the sacrifice of praise, even if it contradicts your current mood. He truly is worthy of all our praise, all the time.

If you are searching for a reason to be thankful, join us for our GROWTH focus next week where we will be uncovering how the law was conquered and what that means for us today. Each day we will undergo short, but impactful, Bible based exercises to uncover truths about the grace of God. Let's live in awareness of God's grace, Warrior!

For Reflection:

Think about a time you had difficulty praising God. Allow yourself to sit in that memory. Then, walk yourself through to the outcome of that tribulation. What was God growing in you? Praise Him for this work and the work He's still doing in your life.

Bible Verses and Quotes 

Bible Verses

  • "I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will declare all Your marvelous works." - Psalm 9:1 MEV
  • "Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:16-18 MEV
  • "You accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, so continue to live following him. You must depend on Christ only, drawing life and strength from him. Just as you were taught the truth, continue to grow stronger in your understanding of it. And never stop giving thanks to God." - Colossians 2:6-7 ERV
  • "Through Him, then, let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." Hebrews 13:15 MEV
  • "Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1 MEV


  • "When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears." - Tony Robbins
  • "Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • "I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual." - Henry David Thoreau
  • "No matter what the situation is...close your eyes and think of all the things in your life you could be grateful for right now." - Deepak Chopra
  • "For what I have received may the Lord make me truly thankful. And more truly for what I have not received." - Storm Jameson

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote awakens your spirit of Thanksgiving?


Activity Suggestions

This time we broke our suggestions into grade level bands. We hope you find a few that work for you and would love it if you would share your favorite Thanksgiving activity with us.

Our Nephew's Suggestion:

Give a lot of thanks and eat turkey!

Enough said. 

Our Suggestions: 

Preschool to First Grade

  • Write directions for "How to Cook a Turkey" with the help of these *free* Thanksgiving writing templates from Tickled Pink in Primary at Teachers Pay Teachers (also includes two different "I am Thankful for..." templates) 
  • Eat a Thanksgiving snack that provides a simplified model of what happened during the first thanksgiving from Stay-at-Home Educator.
  • While eating their snack, read Pete the Cat: The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly Dean and James Dean

Second and Third Grade

Fourth to Sixth Grade

  • Make a list of foods commonly eaten at Thanksgiving.
  • Research to discover the origin of each of the popular foods served at Thanksgiving. Consider the following options:
    • Having each group choose one food to research.
    • Sorting each food into "New World"/"Old World" categories with the help of Food University
    • Pointing them to Wikipedia's page of food origins, teaching them how to use CTRL + F, and releasing them to research their group's list.
  • Write a paragraph (poster, slideshow, mini book, etc.) to present their findings

"Would You Rather...?" Questions

On Thanksgiving, would you rather...
  • Share a meal with friends or strangers?
  • Eat mashed potatoes with no gravy or pumpkin pie with no whipped cream?
  • Take a nap or play football after you eat?
This Wolfe Stew PowerPoint contains three daily "Would You Rather... questions for November or download it (for free!) at our TPT store.

Family Challenge

Designate a box as the Thankfulness box. Encourage each family member to put items into the box. They could be things they are already thankful for or things they struggle to be thankful for. Each night (or what works for your family), pull out an item. Have every family member express a reason they are thankful for the item. For more ideas on this challenge, visit Future Flying Saucers.

We'd Love to Know:

What your favorite Thanksgiving activity is.

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. Come back next week for...First Day of Advent!

Fighting the Good Fight with You,

Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

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Find even more JOY for Today in our monthly calendars, holiday, and seasonal posts.


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