Most families have their own traditions (and foods) that they look forward to each year at Thanksgiving. Have you considered how you might use Thanksgiving as an opportunity for disciple-making? Consider the following four things about Thanksgiving.
Traditions can be good.
For many of us, holiday and family traditions are what make times like Thanksgiving so special. We have fond memories of playing with cousins in the den or outside, watching the parade and sitting around a big table together with a meal. How many of our traditions point us to Christ, though? Green bean casserole and pumpkin pie may not seem spiritual, but consider how much ministry happened around a meal in Scripture.
Stories are powerful.
Jesus often used stories that related to everyday life to teach people more about God and His plan for creation (Matthew 13:9-11). Take advantage of opportunities this Thanksgiving to share stories from Scripture and your family history to instill a rich gospel heritage at home.
Baking involves science, art and the senses. All of these things are gifts from God for our use in enjoying His creation (Ecclesiastes 3:13). How many strong memories and feelings do you have that are associated with your senses? By connecting traditions and stories with the senses, you can make strong impressions on the hearts and minds of your children. Smells and tastes can create happiness and community.
Serve up grace.
Chances are, not everyone at your family gatherings are Christians. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for your children to see what a gospel witness looks like in everyday life. People often expect a prayer at the Thanksgiving meal. Take advantage of opportunities to talk about the gospel, and engage everyone in the house. In some cases, it could be a simple devotion. Other times, it may be a conversation on the porch with some coffee or with the guys hanging out around the grill. Wherever people are gathering in your home this season, serve up some grace with your meal.
Maybe you don’t have children, and you’re wondering what faith at home looks like for you. Perhaps your own parents are with the Lord, and there is not an older person to bring to the holiday table. The good news is that God has given us a large family all across the world called the church. Find a young couple in your church and adopt them this Thanksgiving, or invite a widow over for dinner.
As those around us experience the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Thanksgiving, may they also experience the story of Jesus and the hope that is found in Him for everyone who believes.