Ever since I was little, I’ve been fascinated by things that glow in the dark! Glowing bugs, glowing toys, glowing fish, glowing stars stuck on the ceiling – I am drawn to all things bright and shiny! Kids love things that glow in the dark, and we can use a glow in the dark object lesson to help them learn about giving thanks to God! All you need is a dark room, a Bible, some glowsticks, and maybe a flashlight to help you see and read verses in your Bible.
If you’d like more ideas to help you teach this lesson, or meaningful games and activities to go along with it, download our free “Glow with Thanks!” leader’s guide on our Resources page.
This lesson uses glowsticks and the letters in the word T-H-A-N-K to help children think about all the things they can thank God for no matter what the circumstances. You can see in the picture below how I used glowsticks to spell out the letters T-H-A-N-K. It’s pretty easy. You can even have the kids do it for you while you do the teaching to help them learn that when we thank God in all things, we shine for God like stars in the sky!
GLOW WITH THANKS!
Prepare: Bible, approx. 24 glowsticks, dark room, flashlight (for reading Bible verses)
Do: Darken the room, and use the glowsticks to spell your name and several other words as the children try to guess which word you’re spelling. (It’s simplest to use only capital letters when forming letters with glowsticks – especially letters with no curves. Simple words to form with glowsticks include: HI, TEN, WAX, MAN, FILL, LET, EXTRA, etc.) Then use the glowsticks to form each of the letters in the word “THANK” as you teach the lesson below.
Say: Let’s see if I can make the word THANK. Did you know the Bible says being thankful is kind of like glowing in the dark? I’ll tell you how in a minute, but first I’m going to spell the word THANK with glowsticks! As I make the word THANK, I want to tell you a way that each letter reminds me of a BIG reason to THANK GOD!
T – The first letter is T. T is shaped sort of like a cross and it reminds me THANK God for sending Jesus, his perfect Son, to die on a cross and come back to life so I can TRUST him to save me from sin. The Bible says, “…Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). T also reminds me of the word TRUST. Because I TRUST in Jesus to save me from sin, he rescues me from sin and I can live with God forever! I’m SUPER thankful Jesus died for me on the cross so I can TRUST in him and be saved from sin!
H -What’s the next letter? H reminds me to thank God for HEAVEN. Because I’ve trusted in Jesus to save me from sin, I’ll get to live with God forever in his perfect home. The Bible says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4). When I have problems and pain or I’m sad or angry, it helps to thank God for Heaven and remember that someday I’ll be there with him where there is never pain, or problems, or crying, or sickness, or anything bad – EVER! I’m thankful for Heaven.
A –What’s the next letter in THANK? A reminds me to thank God for his AWESOME ATTRIBUTES! God’s attributes are the things that are true about him. The Bible says, “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1). God’s perfect goodness and love are WAY greater than I can imagine! It makes me want to say “WOW! Thank you, God, for being awesome!” God has lots of AWESOME ATTRIBUTES! God is eternal – no beginning or end. That’s AWESOME! He is perfectly good ALL the time! He knows everything and sees everything! That’s AWESOME! He created everything. He made me! He loves me with an awesome love more powerful than I can even understand. That’s AWESOME! He controls the universe! He is all-powerful! That’s AWESOME! There are LOTS of reasons to thank God for being AWESOME!
N – What’s the next letter? N reminds me of the word NOTHING. I’m thankful NOTHING can separate me from the love of God. Jesus saved me from sin when I trusted him and now NOTHING can keep me away from God’s love. The Bible says, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39). When I have problems, I remember NOTHING can separate me from God. When I feel sick or hurt, I thank God that NOTHING can separate me from him. When I’m lonely or discouraged, I thank God that NOTHING can stop his love for me. When I sin again and again, I confess my sin to God and thank him that NOTHING can keep him from loving me. No matter how bad things get in my life, I can always thank God that NOTHING can separate me from his love.
K – What’s the last letter in THANK? K reminds me to thank God for his KINDNESS. Kindness is showing real love and care for someone. God is KIND by showing me love EVERY day. God is KIND to me by loving me even when I mess up. God is KIND by giving me things I need like air and food and sunshine. God is KIND by making things for me to enjoy like apple pie, bacon, hugs, dinosaurs, and music. God is KIND by giving me my family and friends. God is KIND by giving me a church family who encourages me, loves me, and helps me grow closer to God. ALL the good things that happen to me are God’s way of showing me kindness. God is so KIND that he makes even the BAD things that happen to me work out for my good. That’s epic kindness! I have millions of reasons to thank God for his kindness every day!
I’ve just told you lots of reasons I can THANK God, but there are millions more! God is worthy of our THANKS all day every day! We have MILLIONS and BILLIONS of reasons to THANK God. The Bible says being thankful is kind of like glowing or shining in the dark. God’s Word says, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:14-15). The world is full of the darkness of sin, but when people who believe in Jesus as their Savior give thanks instead of grumbling and complaining, it shines like a light to show how awesome God is. It’s like glowing with thanks!
If you’ve believed in Jesus as your Savior from sin, you can shine for God by giving thanks instead of complaining. Like a light or glowstick helps us see in the dark, God can use your thankful attitude to help others see how awesome he is so they’ll want to know and love him too. You have lots of reasons to thank God. What will you thank God for this week? How will you glow with thanks by being thankful instead of complaining or arguing? You can talk to God about that right now! If you’ve believed in Jesus as your Savior from sin, you can shine for God by giving thanks instead of complaining or arguing. It’s like you’re glowing with thankfulness!
If you haven’t believed in Jesus as your Savior from sin, I would love to talk to you about that today! Jesus died on the cross and came alive again so that you can be close to God now and forever. (Read Acts 16:31.) “Believe” is another way to say “trust” in Jesus. And when you do, he will save you from your sin. He will take your sin away and you can know he will never leave you. I would love to talk to you about that if you have never believed in Jesus as your Savior.
Now It’s YOUR Turn!
Gather your supplies and give it a try! If you’d like some extra help, you can even watch the video below with kids in your family or church. Give them some glowsticks, dim the lights, and have them follow along with me as I teach the object lesson in the video. (To make it a bit more interactive, you can have the kids wave a glowstick each time I say something I’m thankful for in the video…or every time I say the word “Thanks” or “Thanksgiving.”) This glow in the dark object lesson is a fun and interactive way to encourage kids to give thanks to our AWESOME God, I hope you’ll enjoy sharing it with the kids in your life!
If you’d like MORE ideas, activity pages, lessons, and other FREE supplies to help you teach kids about giving THANKS to God, check out our FREE “Thank You, God!” activity guide on our resources page. This free digital download has dozens of ideas to help you lead kids in developing a heart of thanksgiving that lasts all year long.