Sharing Thanksgiving Around the Table

Rev. Deb Koster

November 23, 2015

We at Family Fire would like to offer you a Thanksgiving gift--printable Thanksgiving Day cards to use at your holiday table. Each one includes a Bible verse and a question to spur on conversation and reflection about things for which we are thankful.

The idea for these cards began with a Thanksgiving among strangers. It was our first time celebrating Thanksgiving in a new city and we didn’t want to spend it by ourselves. We offered an open invitation at our church, and a couple families also on their own for the holiday agreed to join us. I got my wish for people around my table, but now I had a new challenge--how to help strangers feel like they were family.

As the hostess, I planned the menu and set the table, but I also wanted to guide the conversation. My kids were often shy about making conversation with new people, and I wanted everyone to share something for which they were thankful, so I picked up some blank cards from the dollar store and set out to create mini discussion starters.

In each card, I wrote a scripture verse and a specific question about thankfulness. My hope was that these cues would help nurture reflection and initiate conversation that would help us see the gifts of God, the unity we have as God’s children, and even the unity we have with believers throughout the ages.

I set the table with a card at each place, and as people picked their seat, I asked them to find a question which they would be comfortable answering among the group. I left a stack of alternate cards for people to peruse and there was a small bit of trading as people settled in around the table. We opened our meal with prayer and then passed around platter after platter of food until our plates were full. As we dug into our turkey and stuffing, we began sharing answers to the questions posed in our cards.

One teenager shared about a favorite song, and her love for music became evident. Others chimed in about their favorite songs, and everyone’s personalities began to emerge. Another woman gave thanks for a mentor she was grateful to have guiding her in faith formation. Many of us around the table mentioned similar mentors who were influential in our lives. Another person acknowledged how grateful she was for a church family that cared for her even though she was away from home and dealing with unemployment. Before long, we were sharing genuinely about our own life struggles.

Card by card we shared thankfulness and amazement at the God who had set the universe in place and guided our lives. Eyes became misty talking about a favorite teacher and laughter flowed over outrageous childhood memories. Strangers became friends and God was worshipped. These cards were a blessing to the individuals sitting around the table that Thanksgiving day and we hope they will be to you as well.

We hope that you choose to reach out and welcome a new face around your table this holiday and that these cards will be a welcomed resource. Hebrews 13:1-2 says, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” But even if you gather with only familiar faces this year, we pray these cards will help you deepen your thankfulness to God and love for one another. We offer these Thanksgiving cards as a gift to you to use as you demonstrate God’s love around your table.

About the author — Rev. Deb Koster

Deb Koster is a producer, writer, and speaker for Family Fire. She is also an Innkeeper at The Parsonage Inn in Grand Rapids, MI where she leads marriage retreat on weekends. After over 20 years as a Registered Nurse, she completed a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. Deb and her husband Steven enjoy doing ministry together and they are the parents of three awesome young adults.

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