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“Yay! We’re here!” shouted Justin as the car turned into the driveway in front of his grandparents’ little brown house.
“Yay! Yay!” Justin’s little sister, Ellie, clapped her hands.
Justin could see his gramma and grampa waving from their front door. It was a chilly day outside, but Justin knew there would be a glowing fire in the fireplace inside. And Gramma and Grampa’s hugs always made Justin feel warm all over, like a cozy blanket.
“Come in, my Sweet Treats!” Gramma said to Justin and Ellie as they walked through the door. “Come give your gramma some sugar.” The kids both kissed their gramma on the cheek. “That’s it. That’s the kind of sugar I want.”
“Look, Grampa,” Gramma commented. “See how tall they’re both getting?”
“I declare!” said Grampa. “They are growing a bit too fast, aren’t they? Well, maybe if I squeeze them harder, that will keep them from growing, huh?” Grampa grabbed Justin and pulled him into a big bear hug.
Justin laughed. “I don’t think that will work, Grampa!”
After everyone said hello and got their hugs, they settled down at the table for lunch. “So, Justin, you know what day tomorrow is, don’t you?” Grampa asked him.
“Yeah,” Justin replied around his peanut butter sandwich. “It’s Thanksgiving Day tomorrow.”
“That’s right! And you know what that means? We men have to go hunting.”
Justin’s eyes got big. “You mean, we gotta hunt for the turkey?”
“Nahh!” Grampa chuckled. “Your gramma’s got the turkey in the fridge already. This hunt will be different. We’ll be hunting thank yous.”
“Huh?” Justin stared at Grampa. “How do you hunt a thank you?”
“I guess we’ll find out. But it sounds like fun,” said Justin’s dad.
“For now,” Gramma announced, “we ladies need to bake some pies.”
“Pie! Pie!” Ellie squealed. “I make pie, too.”
“Alrighty, Little Princess,” said Grampa as he lifted Ellie out of her high chair. “You help Gramma make pie. Justin and I will go out and rake up some leaves in the backyard.”
Justin followed his dad and Grampa out the back door. They each took a rake and started pulling the leaves into a pile. After a while when the pile of leaves was almost as tall as Justin, Grampa put his rake down. “That looks perfect, Justin! Are you ready to dive in?” Grampa asked him.
Justin raced toward the leaf pile and jumped right into the middle—whoosh! He scrambled out of the pile just in time for his dad to jump in too! “Wahhh!” they both yelled. The leaves blew into the air and spread out on the grass again. Justin grabbed his rake and started pulling the leaves back into a pile. Grampa, Dad, and Justin spent all afternoon playing in the leaves and throwing them at each other.
Inside the house, Ellie, Mom, and Gramma were having their own fun in the kitchen baking pies for Thanksgiving Day dessert. Ellie rolled out her own little piece of pie dough with a kid-size rolling pin. Gramma showed her how to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on it and bake it. “Yum! Ellie made her very own sweet cinnamon pie,” said Gramma when Ellie’s pie dough came out of the oven.
“I like cim-ma-nom.” Ellie smiled as she stuffed another bite into her mouth.
Bedtime came early that evening. Everyone had a busy day, and they were ready for sleep. Gramma showed Justin and Ellie where they would sleep. To their surprise, there was a small tent set up right in the middle of the bedroom. “We get to go camping in your house?” asked Justin excitedly.
“Sure.” Gramma chuckled. “Grampa and I thought you might enjoy that more than just a plain ol’ bed.”
“Thanks, Gramma! It’s great!” Justin and Ellie hugged her then climbed into the tent and were soon fast asleep in their sleeping bags.
After breakfast the next morning, Grampa turned to Justin. “Today’s Thanksgiving Day, and you know what that means?”
“We’re going to hunt thank yous!” Justin replied eagerly.
“That’s right, so go get your coat and scarf!” Grampa called. Justin scurried to the front hallway for his coat. But what was this? A piece of paper was sticking out of his coat pocket.
Justin unfolded it while Dad looked over his shoulder and read, “Coat and shoes, warm socks for my toes, thank you, God, for my—”
“Clothes?” Justin said, thinking it sounded right.
“Good guess, Justin. You’re absolutely right!” Grampa patted Justin’s shoulder. “You found and solved a thank you already!” Grampa chuckled. “But I know there are lots of them around here to hunt. Let’s go!” Grampa went out the door and headed toward the backyard. “Sometimes the thank yous hide out here, so you better look around.”
Justin tromped around the backyard looking up and down and back and forth. He walked over to the leaf pile they had made yesterday. “There’s one!” he announced and handed it to his dad to read.
“Leaves on trees, the wind blows hard, thank you, God, for my back—”
“Yard!” Justin shouted triumphantly. “There’s two! Where’s the next one?”
“Oh, thank yous can be anywhere, you just have to look for them. Might be one in the front yard. You could look there,” Grampa suggested.
Justin ran around to the front of the house. He peered in the flowerbed and under the porch swing. “Hmm, where could it be?” he asked himself. Then he saw something fluttering in the breeze over by the car. “I see it!” he shouted as he ran to the car and plucked the paper out from under the windshield wiper. “Read it, Dad,” he said breathlessly.
Dad took the paper and read, “Going to church, getting to school, driving, driving near and far, thank you, God, for our—”
“Car!” shouted Justin.
“Good job!” Grampa cheered, making Justin grin.
Justin and his dad followed Grampa around all morning hunting for the rest of the thank yous. They found one by the pond, under an apple tree, tucked into a chair cushion, and even in Justin’s sleeping bag indoors! And Justin agreed, these were all things to be thankful for: water, fruit, comfy chairs to sit in, and a warm place to sleep.
Finally the hunters started feeling hungry. Justin’s stomach growled as he sniffed at the delicious smells coming from the kitchen. “Mmm. That turkey smells super good!”
They followed their noses to the kitchen to see when dinner would be ready.
“Justin,” Gramma called as she put cranberry sauce into a glass dish. “Will you take this to the table please? It’s time to eat!”
“Yay!” Justin carried the dish into the dining room and placed it on the table as everyone took their seats and oohed and aahed at the beautiful table full of all sorts of tasty foods.
Justin let his eyes take in all the delicious dishes from the warm, puffy rolls to the candied sweet potatoes to the cranberry sauce. And right in the middle sat a huge turkey all roasted and ready for him to gobble up!
“Ooh! This looks marvelous, Mother,” said Justin’s dad to Gramma.
“Eat turkey, eat turkey, gobble, gobble, gobble,” Ellie sang as she wriggled in her high chair.
“Did you hunt down all the thank yous?” asked Justin’s mom.
“Nope, not yet,” Grampa said with a wink. “What’s that there under your plate, Justin?”
Justin was surprised. He lifted his plate, and there it was—another thank-you note! He quickly unfolded it, and his dad leaned over to read it aloud. “Gather ‘round for Thanksgiving, thank you, God, for—”
“Everything!” Justin shouted. Everyone laughed then bowed their heads to thank God for the wonderful food and all his blessings.
Justin & Jessie show kids how the Bible applies to real life! These weekly stories are part of Answers Bible Curriculum, our full-Bible, chronological Sunday school program for all ages.