The great thanksgiving for advent

Advent wreath – blessing & song

Prayers for each week at the Advent wreathCollection of Advent resources links

A possible structure for the Gathering of the Community:

1. The appropriate number of candles is lit on the Advent Wreath before the service begins. Alternatively, these candles are lit (by, for example, different children) during the Advent hymn.

2. Suggested greeting: 

Grace and peace to you from God.
God fill you with truth and joy.

3. Advent hymn or Song of Praise

“Glory to God in the highest” is traditionally not used in Advent.


It may be desirable to omit penitential elements in the Gathering of the Community if the focus is on the lighting of the Advent Wreath candles.

4. Collect of the Day

Let us pray (bidding)

SilenceCollect proclaimed by the presider.

(The presider uses only one collect)



Suggested response for the Prayers of the People

Lord, in your mercy
hear our prayer.

Variation/Addition to the Great Thanksgiving:


Alternative Great Thanksgiving / Eucharistic Prayers

Eucharistic Prayers

The above link includes some of the following, as well as others:

Eucharistic Prayer 1 from Celebrating Eucharist
This prayer is a new composition which was written to provide some complementary images.

Eucharistic Prayer 2 from Celebrating Eucharist
Eucharistic Prayers are often criticised for their repetitiveness. This prayer was written, in part, as an attempt to avoid this.

Eucharistic Prayer 3 from Celebrating Eucharist
This prayer is modeled on one found in the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (early third century). This ancient eucharistic prayer is used widely as a basis for many modern eucharistic prayers in different denominations.

Eucharistic Prayer 4 from Celebrating Eucharist
This prayer is based on an ecumenical prayer with its source in the liturgy of St. Basil.

Eucharistic Prayer 1 from Enriching our Worship

Eucharistic Prayer 2 from Enriching our Worship
Has a strong focus on creation

Eucharistic Prayer 3 from Enriching our Worship
Also has a strong focus on creation

Alternative introduction to the Lord’s Prayer:

Let us pray for the coming of the kingdom as Jesus taught us.

An example of an Advent Prayer after Communion:

God of new beginnings,
you draw near to us in word and sacrament
to strengthen and renew us;
kindle in us the fire of your Spirit,
may your light so shine through us
that all may welcome your Son at his coming.
We ask this in the name of Jesus Emmanuel. Amen.

I love preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday the week before Advent Season begins because it readies my mind to slow down and focus on the extra-ordinariness of the coming holiday season. Like many people, most days I have a full list of “to do’s” that I try to check off, and I often find myself running from thing to thing without much time set aside for reflection.

For years I dreaded Christmas because it felt like just a lot of work. It was just one more thing added to an already hectic life. When I discovered the observance of Advent, I learned to make way for the holiday—that is, I learned to clear other things out of my family’s schedule so that Advent and the celebration of the birth of Christ on Christmas became a primary focus, not “one more thing” added to our agenda.

 Thanksgiving Signal for Advent

Now Advent has become the most special time of the year to me, with Thanksgiving being the signal that it is time to shift gears.

I try to be truly thankful everyday, but the Thanksgiving holiday reminds me to take stock of how well I’m doing with that. I find that as I take time to be thankful and purpose to thank God for specific blessings, I am a more joyful person. When preparing for the big Thanksgiving dinner with all my now adult children home, the tasks that I used to resent as added work become something I joyfully do as a preparation for a special time of celebrating Christ.

 Keep a list

I find that the more I give thanks, the easier it is to find things to be thankful for because I’m reminded things I take for granted are actually blessings from God. This week I am returning to a practice I began years ago when I was taught about being intentionally thankful. Each night, I am writing down a list of 10 things I am thankful for.   I doubt I will be able to stop at 10, but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

November and December are my very favorite times of the year to homeschool. We tend to take a break from the daily grind and focus on what’s really important — gratitude for God’s providential hand in the founding of America and His grace and mercy in sending His Son to earth. 

Today, I want to share some of my favorite homeschool curriculum to help us keep the focus on Him!

Thanksgiving Resources

There are also several unit studies we have used and loved over the years. I want to make sure you are aware of these as well. 

Thanksgiving from Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett — In this 4-week unit study for K-12, history will come alive as the story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans unfolds before you. Your students will relive the adventures of the Pilgrims, and learn more about their commitment, determination, and deep faith in God. Through Internet links, they will visit the Mayflower and Plymouth Plantation. They will read journal entries of William Bradford, take a virtual tour of a Wampanoag home site, and enjoy Thanksgiving projects for kids of all ages.

Speaking of Homeschool Share, some of our very favorite unit studies and lapbooks are housed there. And everything is free!! I’ll share some Advent and Christmas resources, too, but first, click on the banner below for some great studies for Thanksgiving: 

Some of our favorite books for our Thanksgiving book basket include:

Several of these books have free unit studies at Homeschool Share. You can find them by clicking on the Thanksgiving Connections link above. 

Advent Resources

I didn’t grow up celebrating, or even recognizing, the Advent season. But over the past few years, it has become my favorite time of year. Learning about the Old Testaments prophecies of the Messiah, the anticipation of his birth, and finally celebrating the arrival of the newborn King. Just beautiful. 

We keep things pretty simple with Advent. I purchased a beautiful Nativity Advent Wreath several years ago, and it’s the first sign of the coming Christmas holiday that will adorn our home. 

The candles of the Advent Wreath include:

The Hope (or Prophecy) Candle: This candle represents not only the Biblical prophecies about Christ’s birth, but the very feeling of anticipation which God’s people experienced over hundreds of years as they awaited His coming. Advent is a time when we can, in our own way, join the generations of God’s children in awaiting our Messiah. Of course, Advent encompasses both the arrival of the Christ child and His second glorious coming which is yet to occur!

The Peace (or Bethlehem) Candle: This candle represents the preparations made for the coming Christ child. Bethlehem is an appropriate place to signify preparation because, even though no room was available for Mary and Joseph when they came, God had orchestrated events so that Caesar Augustus called for a census to be taken. Joseph and Mary had to leave Nazareth so that they could register in Bethlehem and the Scriptures below were fulfilled!

The Joy (or Shepherds’) Candle: The shepherds represent the message of great joy that is brought to the world about Jesus’ birth!

The Love (or Angel) Candle: This candle represents the love which God shared with the world when He sent His Son, Jesus! Another theme for this week is sharing–the angels announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds and they shared it with others. The magi also left the baby Jesus and probably shared the wonderful news of the Savior with everyone they met! So this week, as we read through the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 1 and 2 and light all four Advent candles, remember that the light of Christ can only shine brighter as it does on your Advent wreath if we SHARE the Good News of Jesus Christ with the world!

The Christ Candle: This white candle represents Christ! Our Messiah, Jesus, Light of the World is finally here!

This year, the first Sunday of Advent is December 2. To follow along the days of Advent, we read from one of these three books: 

For some Nature Study activities, Shining Dawn Books has the perfect mini-unit — Nature Studies through the Holidays: Advent. While not your typical full-fledged NaturExplorers study, this mini-unit will be just what you need to prepare your hearts for Christmas through a unique, Christ-centered nature study tied into the themes of Advent. For each week of Advent, it provides Scripture references, nature study activities and full-color notebooking pages. Bonus ideas and notebooking pages are included for Thanksgiving and an after Christmas theme about the Wise Men, too. For the month of November, use the code: BOGO to buy one get one free.

And for mom —

Jesus Light of the World: Praying the Scriptures Through Advent

 by Candace Crabtree is just beautiful. Join Candace in 31 days of Praying the Scriptures through the Advent Season. Each day you will read 1 Scripture passage about LIGHT from the Bible, a short devotional reading, a prayer about that Scripture and journaling lines for your own prayers. We will focus on the importance of light and Jesus as light throughout God’s Word and in our own lives.   Also included are 2 beautiful printables to remind you that Jesus is the Light this Advent season!  

Christmas Resources

For the most part, our homeschooling is finished for the year once we have completed our Advent activities, but I do have one more study to share with you for Christmas. It’s another wonderful unit study from Unit Studies by Amanda Bennett — Christmas

Just like Thanksgiving, Christmas is a 4-week study for K-12. In Christmas, your family will learn what the world was like at the time of Christ’s birth. Use this study to help your children understand the significance that the coming Savior had for so many people. Read about the prophecies that were fulfilled by His birth, and begin to clearly see God’s hand in history since the very beginning of time.

There are several picture books we always bring out at Christmastime as well. These are our perennial favorites, and I don’t think either of us could imagine not reading them. In the past, I have wrapped one book for every day of Advent and place them in a basket for Ben to choose one to read. It’s because of this practice that we have fallen in love with these books. I remember the first year I did this, I just went to the library and picked any book about Christmas that looked good to me. We found some wonderful (and not so wonderful) books this way, but we were introduced to all of these books with this method. Most of them are now a part of our home library.

I do have a warning for you here. Most of the time, Ben has to take over reading for me because every, single one of these books makes me cry. But we love them so much and I hope you do, too. 

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming
Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Hunt
The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walberg
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert Barry
Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant
An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco
Annika’s Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis
The Littlest Angel by Robert Tazewell  

Be sure and check out the Christmas Connections page at Homeschool Share for some great free unit studies and lapbooks. Click on the banner below to find those. You’ll find unit studies for two of the books I’ve listed above, as well as a Christmas Around the World unit study and a 12 Days of Christmas lapbook.

So are you ready to celebrate the 12 days of Thanksgiving??? (never heard of it you ask, well I just made it up ha ha ha ha)…. Go make an Advent Calendar– to find out how, hop on over here for directions to make it!! 

Here are some ideas that I hope will peak your interest! 

Make 12 Quilted Shapes! 
I made a Turkey and a Pumpkin with some left over charm pieces. You will have PLENTY to make 12 things to fit in all the pockets if you want!  I just “drew” the Turkey but if you are interested let me know by leaving a comment and I can put up the directions/pattern here.

It would be easy to think of 12 little “things” to make for your pockets.. you could make, leaves, pumpkins, pilgrim hats, turkeys,  boats… the list goes on- look for online coloring pages for shapes to use.

Link to the Turkey Applique Pattern can be found here

Fill the pockets with 12 facts about Thanksgiving: just go to Wikipedia, you’ll find out more than you ever thought you’d want to know about Thanksgiving!

What about a “Quote a Day” about Gratitude? Here are 12 I found online.

Gratitude Quotes

1. God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”  ~William A. War

2. The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  ~H.U. Westermayer

3.  Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.  ~G.B. Stern

4. There is no such thing as gratitude unexpressed.  If it is unexpressed, it is plain, old-fashioned ingratitude.  ~Robert Braul

5. For each new morning with its light,For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

6. If a fellow isn’t thankful for what he’s got, he isn’t likely to be thankful for what he’s going to get.  ~Frank A. Clark

7. He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.  ~Epictetus

8. Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.  ~W.T. Purkiser

9. Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.  ~William Faulkner

10.  As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

11.  We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.  ~Cynthia Ozick

12. Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.  ~Author Unknown

What about a Thanksgiving Craft A Day?  Your kids will love pulling it out of the pocket to see what they get to do that day! You could use a combo of “pre made” bought crafts (like fun foam stuff) and some home made ones… Here are some links to some fun ones to try…

12 Thanksgiving Crafts

3. Let’s get our fingers dirty and make place cards for Thanksgiving Dinner.4. Color a Picture to hang on our wall.5. Make “crackers” to have at Thanksgiving Dinner.

7. Let’s make Bingo cards to keep our guests entertained on Thanksgiving day! 

9. Go on a nature hike and gather fall leaves!

10. Read a story about Thanksgiving 

11. Build your own Mayflower!

12. Why not dress up to fit the part on Thanksgiving day? 

There is always Good Ole’ Candy? I mean who doesn’t love that!

Some other ideas! 

12 Autumn Recipes (would be a good one if you don’t have little kids at home)
12 Conversation Starters for Thanksgiving Dinner
Go ahead and “rewrite” 12 Days of Christmas … to 12 Days of Thanksgiving…
“On the first day of Thanksgiving, my true love gave to me, a Turkey on a silver tray”…
“two pilgrims hats”
“three french fries” (okay so that might not work, but you get the idea!)
12 silly “jokes” about Thanksgiving… you know “why did the Turkey cross the road?”

A gratitude “project” a day for your family…
1- Today write a letter letting your teachers know how much you appreciate them.
2- Don’t take things for granted, find something today that you can give to someone who needs it more than you.
3-Today, find a way to serve your neighbor.
4-Do something nice, and totally unexpected for another member of your family
5-Write a sincere letter to someone who has had a profound influence in your life.
6- Say “thank you” at least 10 times today.
7- Write 5 Thank You notes today, and MAIL THEM (email does NOT count!)
8- Bake a special treat for someone in your life who you truly appreciate.
9- For one week, in your prayers, only thank God for the blessings in your life, don’t ask for anything.
10- Give someone a HUG!
11- Do a chore today without being asked.
12- Call your parents and tell them how grateful you are for everything they have ever done for you.

Also check out:
Angela @ A Bushel and a Peck listed out activities for the calendar she made last year.

So let me know! What do you think?  If you have done something like this before post a link, I’d love to repost them here to share with everyone!

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