The very first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, where a group of Native Americans sat at a table with Pilgrims and shared a meal. Last Wednesday, I joined with a group of friends and shared a Thanksgiving dinner with them. The one sitting next to me said “Sharon, look around”. As I looked around I saw all my friends laughing and sharing stories. It was a wonderful thing to see. But what she wanted to point out was that everyone at the table came from different walks of life and had different skin colors, everyone was just different.
This day is now celebrated throughout the world by many different groups of people. What the Pilgrims and Native Americans did that day is something we should practice every day. That day changed the world for me. It has reminded me that I have a family beyond my biological one. And I think that’s why this season is hard for some of us.
As Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I want everyone to remember what that may look like for you. It is a hard time of year. If there is anything that I learned these past two years, it is that family is more than I imagined. It is the people that came alongside me to encourage me when I fell, who hugged me when I felt ugly, who didn’t exclude me because I am single, and the ones that loved me despite of who I was.
Sometimes we become so focused on what is on the table rather than who is around it. Let us remember the very first Thanksgiving. This day is not about the food or the superficial relationships. It is about being in community with people, and having deep, meaningful relationships. It is about love. It is about Jesus, the person of perfect love. Look around your table, who is sitting there? Trust me, there are certain people or relationships that I wish were at my table. When I look around me, I think of all the people I call friends, I can’t help but love them. I hope they know and feel how much they mean to me. These are the people that I call family. They are the family I never knew but always had. And in Jesus, we are all bound together as the family of God, calling us his friends and inviting us to sit at his table.
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