Thanksgiving is coming on November 27. It’s pretty easy to be missional on Thanksgiving day – or the day after. All you have to do is invite people over – or allow yourself to be invited over – to someone’s house for Thanksgiving.
My sister Bek and brother-in-law Derek modeled this for us for years. They’d host a big family Thanksgiving at their house. We’d eat on the back porch. (They lived in Tampa). They’d also invite their kids’ friends, some neighbors, and a family or two from church. Twenty to thirty people would show up – some came every year. My sister did a little coordinating for this – lining up people to bring this item or that. She preserved our family’s Thanksgiving traditions (I.e. pickled peaches… um, yep, that’s one of my family’s TG traditions), but also welcomed others to bring their family’s traditional Thanksgiving dish. With that many people, neighbors sometimes had to be recruited to provide dishes, chairs, and such. It helped to form us as a community.
When everything was ready, we would gather around the island in the kitchen for prayer. People filled their dishes in the kitchen and sat down around a long table on the porch – actually a thrown together collect of tables covered with table clothes. We’d start to feast. At some point, my brother-in-law would ask everyone to share something they were thankful for in the last year. He’d pray a short prayer again. We’d resume feasting, fellowshipping, and then we’d all help clean up.
It became a great tradition and we made connections over time. People who’d been strangers became like family. We’d see them every year – and ask about them if they were late or weren’t able too come. Derek wrote about his, by the way. He is a prolific writer and published author. He chronicled some of these events on his blog
By the way, we usually had that feast on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Seemed to work well on that day. Now, we may not be able to do what they did – but we are going to try to adapt our holiday to do something like it this year. We will start by talking with friends and neighbors about their Thanksgiving plans. What about you?
How is this missional? Well, the mission of God includes things like fellowship, loving neighbors, and expressing gratitude. And God brought people into that, Jesus brought people into that by coming to us. So if we go to someone and seek intentionally to join in the sort of activity that lines up with God’s mission, by definition we are engaging in missional activity.
How would you make Thanksgiving missional? Share your ideas on Facebook or Twitter.