Your heart’s desire is for a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving
where you go around the table several times
with various ways of thanking God.
The fellowship is sweet, rich, laced with laughter,
and glorifying to God.
But that may not happen.
You may be at a home where
the host is hostile to Christianity,
or uncomfortable with the idea of sharing,
or simply hasn’t thought beyond giving grace.
There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
If there is hostility toward Christianity, you will likely be seen like this:
And instead of drawing them to Christ, it may actually be a stumbling block.
On the other hand, if there an openness, a little encouragement from you might be what God is calling you to do, for it might be truly thought-provoking to some there.
There isn’t a cookie cutter solution, but I’m eager to hear your thoughts and to share a few of my own.
Here are three ideas, and then I’d love you to share too!
And, because this is a group that loves to give thanks, each day this week
you’ll be given a question to help you remember His mercies.
Here are three scenarios I can imagine — though there are many more.
1. Hostility toward Christians — possibly not even a sit-down meal, but just sitting in front of the game with a plate.
In this situation, I wouldn’t even suggest giving thanks. You main goal is always to win them to Christ, not to have things the way you’d like. You can give thanks silently, in your closet, and as you interact with each person. Silently pray for each person you encounter, and find ways to give them love. You might even tell them something you are thankful for about them. For example, “Uncle Tom, I want you to know i’m so thankful for your smile — it just brings cheer to me every time I see you.”
2. Not hostile, but uncomfortable with the idea of giving thanks or having to share.
Probably, I’d do the same as above — but if you sense any sort of openness from the host, you might ask if you could have a time of going around and saying something they have been thankful for this year that they couldn’t have been last year, giving freedom to pass. Here, you might prepare notes to give to people individually and quietly, telling each why you are thankful for that person.
3. A Christian home — but not likely to do more than a simple prayer.
If you know the host well, you might ask ahead of time if you could bring some fun questions for them to draw out of a basket to both get to know each other, and to think of things they might be thankful for. If they don’t like the question they draw, they can draw another without explanation! (This happened for me last year at a friend’s and she had enough questions for everyone answer several times. It was great.) But if she doesn’t like the idea — just gracefully back off. But if she does, here are some possible questions to throw in the basket:
- What was a movie you saw and liked this year and why?
- Share a fun family memory from a Thanksgiving or Christmas past.
- What are you thankful for this year you couldn’t have been last year?
- What was hard this year, but God helped you through it?
- What is something a child said that made you smile?
- Did you get to see the solar eclipse? If so, how did it make you feel?
- Is there a way God helped you to grow?
- Share a time where you sensed God was mindful of you.
- Share a reason you are thankful for the person on your right.
1. What stands out to you from the above, and why?
2. What is your situation this year — and what might you do to enhance the gathering?
3. Share your last experience of sweet Christian fellowship.
4. To what does the psalmist compare brethren who are in unity? (Psalm 133) Comment.
5. Share the last time you responded to the Lord’s warning or conviction, and why, now, looking back, you are glad you did.
6. To what does David compare keeping silent and then confessing? (Psalm 32)
7. When is the last time a child made you laugh? What did they do?
8. What does Proverbs 17:22 tell us?
9. Be alert to how you see God on the move today and then come back and share!
10. What do you grieve for what might have been, but how can you be grateful for what is?
11. Looking back on this year, what are you grateful for that you couldn’t have been grateful for last year?
Tomorrow: Advent Begins!