Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Oh yes, Thanksgiving is creeping up on us! I have read a lot of great posts about giving thanks, but people at the Nursing Homes which I visit take on a different viewpoint of the holiday. Very few will get to spend it with their family at a table filled with food. Most will get a few slices of turkey and gravy in the dining hall where we are meeting. Their thankfulness isn’t punctuated by football games, and they aren’t making plans to do Black Friday shopping. Instead, most of the thankfulness up and down the halls here is for a table that they will sit at one day with Jesus Christ. They come to these hymn singing times and either join in if they still can or just listen as the Lord lifts up their hearts to Him. Yes, we should be thankful for what we have received, but what lies ahead is so much greater and will last forever. Why not take a moment to close yourself in with God and picture His answer to your prayers before you receive them? Why not give thanks right now for what lies ahead, and then receive His peace which is greater than anything you can understand that can guard your heart and mind in Jesus?
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus Philippians 4:19
As Paul sat in prison he was feeling sorry for himself, rather he was focused on the needs of the people in the Philippian church. Funny that Paul’s visit to their city had ended with being beaten and thrown into the dungeon! This Thanksgiving there are some folks who live imprisoned by weakness, pain or abandonment in institutions we call nursing homes. They may receive excellent care and have fine meals but their loss of freedom and choice at the holiday can be stronger than at other times of the year. Wouldn’t this be an excellent time to organize a group to visit and remind the residents that God has not forgotten them
The pond is still warm enough to swim in and the willows have not even thought about turning to their Fall yellow wardrobe but it is not to early to begin planning your Thanksgiving program for nursing home!
Moms and Dads, Grampas and Grammas and yes even some sons and daughters will not be spending Thanksgiving with family because they are in long term skilled nursing care. Whatever the reason
they can not be with their own family, there is no reason in the universe that we can not plan on being a part of God’s family for them this year.
A) The first step is to right now go to your recreation department director and get on her or his busy calendar. It is never too early to reserve a day that will work best for you and your church team to go.
B) Spend time praying and then planning the best presentation you can put together. If you were doing for a program for your church you would do no less than your best. Consider investing in materials such as song books, costumes, or decorations. One big hit with our local nursing home is the cookies that the youth hand out after the program!
C) Assemble your team (even if that is just 2-3) and begin to practice-practice-practice what you have decided together to do. Plan on a program of about 20 – 25 minutes maximum. Whatever more time you have after doing your music, skits and devotional should be given to personal visiting. The more our team has been going back over these last few years, the more the nursing home residents begin to remember their names and faces. Some of our most shy team members are the biggest hits among residents. We have many materials available for you to use including, workbooks, guides and a variety of true stories to inspire you long your own ministry journey.
Here is a short video giving a few of the basics that may help you to prepare