Thanksgiving is different at our home every year. Some years we’ve had a house full of folks, other years we’ve had +1. One thing we know though is God always brings just the right people to our home for the holiday.
For reasons that are way to complicated to explain, we haven’t had extended family at our Thanksgiving table for many years, but some years God has brought complete families to our home. We are so thankful for our Christian family that has comforted the empty places more often than I can count when they’ve gathered around the table.
One year a young man that had been adopted but the state decided wrongly to remove him and his siblings from their home. He was an 18 year old boy in an apartment by himself in a nearby community and circumstances beyond anyone’s control brought that young man to our table that year. Today, we don’t know where that young man is. We can only pray that he is doing well and trust our Heavenly Father to take care of him.
This year, a young lady that left home at 18 came to our table. She’s not really speaking with her parents. She has a boyfriend, but he’s out of the country working for now. Yes, she’s got problems. She’s living an immoral lifestyle. She’s living without Jesus. But she had no where to go for Thanksgiving. Yes, we invited her to share our table. That’s what we do. Our table has always been open to those who have no where else to go. This young woman needs to know that she’s loved. Not that her behavior is accepted, but that her behavior won’t separate her from those that love her. We shared Jesus with her. We didn’t pretend that everything was okay but we didn’t treat her as an outcast either. Isn’t this what Jesus does with us?
This year brought a new friend. A Christian brother whom we hadn’t met until a few days before Thanksgiving day. We have friends that knew him so he wasn’t a complete stranger. He has no family here and would have been alone all day. Through the course of the day we found out that he’s living in his van. He wasn’t complaining and wouldn’t have even told us, except he declined taking home leftovers. This man has faced many hardships but he was content with his life. He was an absolute joy to our day! I could learn a lot from him.
Shane’s Aunt lost her precious husband about 2 years ago. They had no children and spent a lot of time doing ministry together. No, he wasn’t a pastor but they were always busy encouraging others. For many years they volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and traveled many places in their RV to help others build their homes. We certainly didn’t want her to be alone on Thanksgiving.
As we were driving home Friday after being out, we realized how blessed our table was this year. I’m often amazed. I shouldn’t be, but I am. We reach out to bless and we’re the ones that receive the greater blessing.
And that’s the way of Jesus isn’t it?