Giving more than thanks

November 20th, 2017

All the final preparations are underway for Thanksgiving celebrations across the country this Thursday. The yearly parades and fun events make way for the bounty of food and family gathering around household tables. Airports are filling and grocery stores are emptying as everyone tries to make it home for the holidays and their traditional dining fare.

Who is missing?

But not everyone has a place to go or someone with whom to spend the day. Not everyone is happy this year, because they are missing a loved one or grieving a loss. Not everyone has the financial means to travel or provide a feast. Some families are painfully divided because of personal or political issues. Other families are struggling to survive financially and will be working throughout the holiday, unable to enjoy time off. Still other families are dealing with difficult health issues and staying close to, or in, the hospital. And sadly, some persons are left uninvited and lonely—in their apartments, nursing homes, or empty houses. Jesus taught that his followers are called to welcome strangers and to care for the widows, the sick and the poor among us.

The table is open . . .

While commercials would have us believe Thanksgiving Day is the perfect family time, the holiday originated as a time for the whole community to gather. The stories of the first Thanksgiving in America tell about all the families in a community gathering together to share their harvest with their neighbors, the Wampanoag natives who had taught them not only which crops to plant but also how to survive in a new land. If the Wampanoag people had not shared their food and knowledge, few settlers would have survived those first two winters of 1620–1621. Similarly, the Great Thanksgiving in our churches is open to all believers and to all who are seeking to believe. Giving thanks to God is only the first step in celebrating. We must follow through by allowing God’s love to motivate us to invite people we might otherwise pass by to our tables and into our lives. We are called to joyfully share our abundance to help others survive.

Question of the day: How do you plan to spend Thanksgiving this year?
Focal scriptures: Deuteronomy 8:1-20; Matthew 26:26-30; Deuteronomy 24:17-22

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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