Thanksgiving is a season to enjoy our loved ones and eat lots of good food. And for some of us, it’s a time to look at our lives, see all of the blessings, and thank God for all that we have. It’s always been a favorite holiday of mine—not only because of the thankfulness aspect but because of good food and family.
I have vivid memories of heading out into the countryside of Central Texas to Aunt June and Uncle Charles’ house, where there was always lots of family and lots of food. My uncle’s spinach artichoke dip, my grandma’s cornbread dressing, and my aunt’s pecan pie made appearances every year. The cousins would play for hours outside, and there would always be a football game on in one room and a domino tournament going on in another.
Those times meant so much to me, and now that my family and I are creating our own memories (that, of course, involve lots of food, and cards in place of dominoes!), I find myself thinking about a few things I want to instill in my children around this holiday.
Where Memories Are Made
Memories are made around the table. There is something beautiful that happens when we gather around our tables to enjoy good food and drinks together. People share, open up, lean in, and they listen more. There’s something special about the table. We see Jesus gather around many tables in the Scriptures, and we also see profound moments when they are gathered there.
As we create menus for Thanksgiving and plan the table settings, don’t forget that the most important aspect of your table will be the people actually gathered around it. Make space for them to feel welcomed around your table as they enjoy turkey and dressing. Make space for them to share. Make space for them to listen.
Be sure to invite others to the table. A few years ago, we heard that a friend of ours wouldn’t be able to go home for a holiday, so we invited him to join us at our house. That became a tradition, and he joined us for the next few years. There have been other years when we’ve hosted friends who didn’t have family in town. We want our kids to know that the holidays are a wonderful time for families to gather around tables, but this is also a great time to invite others into our homes.
Hospitality Is a Way of Life
As Christ-followers, hospitality is not a choice, but a way of life. I can’t think of a better way to encourage our families to embrace this way of life than to invite those who are alone on the holidays to come into our homes and gather around our tables with our families. Christians should be the most welcoming and hospitable people on the planet. So let’s invite others to join in around our tables full of turkey and fixings this year.
As you enter into this season, first pause. Look around at your life, and remember that even when times are hard, we have so much to be thankful for. Our God loves us so much that He sacrificed everything so that one day, we can sit with Him at His table. With thankful hearts, let’s invite others into our homes and around our tables. Let’s share good food, deep conversations, and new memories.
Want to read more from Jamie Ivey? Check out some of her other LifeWay Voices post.