Thanksgiving is almost here and  you’ve likely got the Turkey, the guest list, and the growing excitement over the special dessert and stuffing your family makes.

Thanksgiving is a fun family holiday and has the opportunity to be a place of great joy. As you plan for this fun holiday, here are 5 ways you can make it missional.

1. Celebrate the Gifts of God

This holiday is begging us to remember God’s faithfulness and thank Him. Take time personally and with your friends or family to remember God’s goodness to you over the last year, month, and even week.

If it’s been a rough year and this Thanksgiving is accompanied with the sadness of those who aren’t there, grieve with God and one another, and in the midst of your grief, remember the God who suffered for you and let Him comfort you.

2. Invite Others to the Family Meal

There are friends, neighbors, college students, co-workers who have either never celebrated Thanksgiving. There are those who don’t have family close or are no longer close relationally to their families.

The table is big enough for more than your current family. One of the best Thanksgiving we’ve ever had as a family included my parents, in-laws, and our friends who joined us. I’ll never forget how fun it was for all of us and how meaningful it was to those invited into our family.

If you’re not near family, consider hosting a FriendsGiving Feast, inviting your friends to share in Thanksgiving together.

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3. Family over Football

While the Turkey is the main course, football is the prime time show for many families. There is nothing wrong with football, but I promise you won’t regret missing the game if you get to make memories with your family.

How is this missional you might ask? Loving others starts with loving your family first. Otherwise, what would you invite someone outside of your faith to experience? Cultivating the love of Christ in your family is a compelling expression of the Gospel.

In this point, we also need to acknowledge that sometimes we dread Thanksgiving because it is family over friends. God is giving us an opportunity in that moment to repent, or turn from, our lack of love for them and join Him as He seeks to love them through us in spite of the difficulties.

4. Stuff the Turkey and the Hungry

While many of us eat more than we should, others go hungry. What an opportunity to spread Thanksgiving to take food to those who need it.

As you research the best way to cook and stuff your Turkey, look for ways you can serve those in need in your city. It may be a local relief shelter or it could be purchasing the same groceries for a neighbor in need.

Let the blessing of Thanksgiving spread beyond your table.

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5. Leftovers for Loving Others

Do you remember last year when you were tired of eating Turkey for a week? Use your leftovers to make sandwiches and meals that you can carry with you in your car or on your commute to share with those in need.

Let your leftovers be extended to others in love.

Happy Thanksgiving!

May this be an amazing day with family and friends, those you love and those you are learning to love, and may the gospel of Jesus Christ taste as sweet as the dessert in light of God’s goodness to you.

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