Thanksgiving was only about my third or fourth favorite holiday growing up. The reason was that we spent most of Thanksgiving serving. Each Thanksgiving day, from early in the morning until about 1pm, our family prepared and served Thanksgiving Dinner at the Long Beach Senior Citizen Center along with 50-60 people from our little home congregation. I worked my way up from random runner to Mashed Potato slinger over the years. It was quite an honor in our tribe.
But, then, when we came home, my parents would always bring strangers with them. They were people they found out didn’t have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with. Mom and Dad just invited them home. They gave them the better spots at the table, while I was pushed toward the kids table. It stunk.
Now that I’m grown up, I see the godliness in what they were doing. Back then…I just didn’t like it at all.
Hospitality is the Christian virtue of openness and welcome. I’m thankful for how my parents role-modeled it for me, and my hope is that I my fellow sisters and brothers in the Lord can grow more and more radically hospitable each day. If you get the chance, consider serving on Thanksgiving…or at least having someone over who is lonely. This is the kingdom of God at work.