As students come in
If this is possible, give people a card each as they come in (card is enclosed as a PDF below). Remember that you will need to be prepared to litter pick the hall after assembly as many of these cards will be dropped or left behind!!
Alternatively, use the enclosed Powerpoint. Choose the content you need from the assembly.
Thanksgiving? What's all that about?!
Well, in America there is a yearly celebration (like a Bank Holiday in the UK). Although Native Americans have lived in the land we call America for some time, in 1620 the 'Pilgrims' left Plymouth in Devon and landed in a place that became Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA on a ship called the Mayflower. (This is why Plymouth Argyle football club are nicknamed 'The Pilgrims').
The reason that these people left England was because of religious persecution. The pioneers who left Plymouth wanted freedom to believe in and worship God free from the rules and regulations imposed on them by the King and the state church at the time. On the way to America, they agreed on a form of democratic government which was founded on the principles of the Bible. (In fact much of the founding of America and even their famous Declaration of Independence was from the Bible and directly from the talks given in churches in America). When the Pilgrims landed in America they were led in a prayer of thanksgiving from the Bible (Psalm 100) by a man called William Brewster.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
The landing of the Pilgrims in America and their prayer became much of the basis for the national day of Thanksgiving in America and was officially done the first time by the famous American President, Abraham Lincoln on October 3rd 1863. Some of this famous proclamation for a day of thanksgiving says this:
"...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, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings..."
Thanksgiving is a huge day in America where people eat, gather together as families and celebrate. I was in New York during Thanksgiving and the Thanksgiving Day Parade was absolutely huge - like a massive carnival with marching bands, cheerleaders, floats and all kinds of amazing things!
Josh Groban - Thankful Video (Two options)
Just to say this is quite a 'classical' song, so if you can't play directly, you could play as people come in to the assembly and as they leave.
Direct Link, with best pictures - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPDimGnpv4g
Alternate link, with words - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBEI1F22uqE
So what's all this got to do with me?
The Pilgrims thanked God for their arrival in the 'new world' as they called it. They prayed and that may be what you feel like doing, to thank God.
But whether you believe in God or not, we all have things to be thankful for. Sometimes it may not feel like that! You may be in a very difficult situation or things may be tough where you live. But being thankful and having a good attitude is really important and we can choose to be grateful even when we don't feel like it. Actually, research proves that being positive and thankful causes you to feel happier, have more energy, have better friendships with people and live longer!!
There is a famous saying that says this: “I used to complain I had no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”
There are lots of things we can be grateful for. Here are just some things that you may be able to say you're thankful for: your health; the fact you're alive; that you have friends; for your faith; that you have freedom; that you have an education; that you aren't a slave; that you have some money. Many people around the world live in terrible conditions. Young people and children have to beg or sleep rough. Many have no homes. Others are in the middle of war zones or are imprisoned. Millions have little money or bad water or bad homes.
Being thankful for what you do have (and for what you don't have!) will transform you and rub off on others too. If you find yourself complaining, think of what you do have and try to change to have a good, thankful attitude. Take the card around with you and let it remind you to be thankful and positive, just as the Pilgrims were. Thanksgiving happens every year in America and this is great, but let's make thanksgiving a daily thing in our lives.