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NOV. 4 — LUKE 19:1-10: JESUS MEETS ZACCHAEUS. When did somebody believe in your goodness or make you feel good about yourself because they believed in you? If Jesus came to your house, what would He say to you? What good things would He see right away about you and tell you about? Tell your other family members about the good things you see in them. Do we know someone who needs some attention or encouragement like Jesus gave to Zacchaeus? Design an e-mail to invite Jesus to your home for dinner. If Jesus came to your home for dinner, how would you get ready? What would you talk about? Zacchaeus changed because he knew Jesus. Is there something Jesus wants me to change?
NOV. 11 — LUKE 20:27-38: JESUS IS ASKED ABOUT THE RESURRECTION. What do you think heaven will be like? What does it mean to be a child of God? Jesus said that to God all people are alive. What do you think He meant? Jesus reminds us we are a people of hope. How can we bring a message of hope to someone this week? Our life to come, after the Resurrection, everyone will live in harmony and peace. How can our family be like that this week?
NOV. 18 — LUKE 21:5-19: JESUS SPEAKS OF TROUBLES TO COME. Jesus doesn’t want us to be afraid of anything because He will always take care of us. What do you do when you’re afraid? During this week’s difficult times, was Jesus with you? Did other people help you? Is this one way Jesus was with you? Where is God’s kingdom alive around me? Does this make me feel happy or scared? Being witnesses of Jesus means doing what we’re supposed to do. How have you been a witness? How can we be a witness this week?
NOV. 25 — LUKE 23:35-43: JESUS’ FINAL CONVERSATION ON THE CROSS. Jesus’ great love reaches out even when He is dying. Who needs our love this week? Celebrate a prayer service of forgiveness as a family. Most people didn’t recognize who Jesus was. Jesus is alive today. Where do we recognize Him?
Thanksgiving is our finest national holiday because it brings out some of our best human qualities — hospitality, generosity and gratitude. Moreover, it’s our annual opportunity to acknowledge the generous mercy of God toward us. Consider the words Abraham Lincoln wrote on Oct. 3, 1963, when he issued the proclamation inviting Americans to spend a day giving thanks to God:
“The year that is drawing toward 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 the Almighty God.
“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 . . . 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.”
During this holiday, we talk a lot about gratitude. But how do we foster that as parents? Through an informal polling of parents, the following approaches seem to generate thankfulness.
10. As soon as toddlers can speak, teach them to say “Please” and “Thank you.”
9. Make it a habit of saying “Thank you” to the children when appropriate.
8. Encourage kids to write thank-you notes to those who give them gifts.
7. Expect children to share generously with their siblings and friends.
6. Give generously of your time, money and service to other families.
5. Have family prayer times where everyone is asked to say, “Thank you, Lord, for _____.”
4. When something good happens to the family — such as the birth of a baby — have everyone gather for a prayer of thanks.
3. When bad things happen, help the children be thankful for whatever good God may bring out of it.
2. Remind the children that the word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving, and at Mass we are giving God thanks for making us His sons and daughters.
1. Be thankful yourself, in all circumstances, good and bad: when an infant upchucks on your new shirt; when a child makes something beautiful in wood shop; when Fido infests the house with fleas; when a child cleans the garage without having been asked; when an adolescent driver smashes the fender on the Ford; when a troubled teen turns around and moves forward; when a married son or daughter produces your first grandchild; when a son or daughter moves back home. And so on. In all of these things, be grateful for thankfulness is a cause of joy and an antidote for disappointment.
The November issue of Take Out asked this question. Here is another viewpoint to consider for this important question.
Q: Does God Answer Our Prayers?
A: Perhaps this is not the first question to be asked about prayer. As parents, by broadening the answering, youngsters can be helped to grow in their relationship with God and their understanding of prayer.
The question implies that the primary reason we pray is to ask for something; hence, we would like God to answer our needs, wants, wishes.
Can we lead children to pray primarily in thanksgiving? In reality, children are filled with wonder, and thanks come naturally to them.
What is the real purpose of prayer? When we are with our closest friend, do we come to him/her with a laundry list of what we want him/her to do for us? Do we take this time of “being-with” to deepen our friendship, our knowing-we-are-loved? Prayer is like this. It has been said that prayer isn’t “for anything,” it convinces me more and more how one I am with God who loves me totally and unconditionally.
Certainly, prayer of petition is going to be an integral part of prayer, for God is our Creator; we are aware of our dependence upon God. God is always with us; God is never absent. Jesus’ prayer in the garden teaches us about prayer of petition: we pray that we are changed.
Another element of prayer of petition is contained in the saying, “I have no hands but yours.” God acts in the world today, answering prayers, through us. If we pray for those suffering, sick, poor, God will respond to them through our actions.
President Franklin Roosevelt speech: www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/4free.html
International kids’ games: www.gameskidsplay.net
American Indian history: www.nps.gov/history/nr/feature/Indian
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