Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! There’s a lot to love about this week:
You only have two or three days of school.
The Christmas season gets underway in stores.
Many people get to see their extended family.
And of course, there’s the FOOD! Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, pie, rolls, green beans . . . it makes you hungry just thinking about it.
- What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving? (Accept all reasonable answers.)
Just about everyone can appreciate something about Thanksgiving. There’s only one exception: the poor turkeys. One day, you’re gobbling along in the barnyard; the next day, you’re on a plate. It’s tough being a turkey at Thanksgiving.
But there’s hope—even for turkeys! For many years, there’s been a tradition that the President of the United States pardons two turkeys from their fate right before the holiday. Instead of turning into drumsticks, these two gobblers get to live out their natural lives at a turkey-friendly spot in Virginia.
However, this hasn’t always been a presidential tradition. Check out this special report on the history of turkey pardons. (Encourage students to be respectful, rather than offering commentary on the different presidents shown in the video.)
Show your students this video [1:50].
The History of the Presidential Thanksgiving Turkey Pardon
Imagine you’re a turkey. Thanksgiving is coming, and you’re starting to get nervous. Every year you’ve had turkey buddies mysteriously disappear at this time never to be heard from again. And the legend handed down is that they ended up on a dinner table. But this year, you hear a rumor from one of the cows. You’re not going to land on the dinner table—you’re going to go to the White House for a presidential pardon!
- Do you think you would believe the rumor? If you did, what do you think you would be feeling? (You would probably feel relieved.)
- What if you didn’t trust the cow—or maybe you didn’t trust the president to actually pardon you. Then how would you feel? (In that case, you would continue to be anxious about your fate.)
Year after year, turkeys trust the different presidents with their futures. Trusting can be scary sometimes.
- Can you tell about a scary time when you had to trust someone else with what was going to happen to you? How did it turn out? (Allow students to share situations even if they didn’t have a good outcome. Be prepared to share your own experience.)
Today we’re going to talk about a time in Abraham’s life where he had every reason not to trust his future to God. In fact, he had every reason to run in the opposite direction! But somehow, he found the faith to follow the Lord anyway. Let’s take a look.