Submitted by Jonna Turek
Thanksgiving, that unique American holiday established to thank our Creator for God’s provision, evokes an image of a plump, golden-brown turkey surrounded by favorite side dishes and a smiling family safe and snug in a warm house, while outdoors the leaves fall through crisp autumn air.
At least that’s what I picture at this special time of year. I have memories of family feasts which, in my family, gave the women of the family an opportunity to shine as they filled the house with fall decorations and the aromas of those special Thanksgiving treats. While the menfolk talked about sports, watched football on TV or planned the family’s after-dinner touch football game, the women provided the food and atmosphere.
In my own family background, women are the stars of this all-American holiday, and rightly so, because women and girls in the U.S. have so many reasons to give thanks. While there are still residual inequalities between the sexes in this country, we need only look at the circumstances of our sisters around the world to see how generously blessed we are.
A genuinely thankful heart yearns to give back to the giver.
We can show our thanks to God for our many blessings by reaching out to our less fortunate sisters. As Christ said in Matthew 25:40 (CEV), “…Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me.”
American Baptist Women’s Ministries provides a number of practical ways we can express our thanks by reaching out to less fortunate women and girls, both around the world and much closer to home. Along with our own women struggling with poverty and/or abuse, we now have a multitude of women and unaccompanied girls who have crossed our southern border in search of a better life. Setting aside our feelings about the causes of this situation and any opinions we may have about immigration policies, we can still reach out to provide comfort to those who are here. We do this in recognition of our own abundance, as an expression of heartfelt thanks to God.
Not everyone experiences the sort of Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving romanticized in the media and our own cherished memories, but anyone can know the joy and the warm glow that comes from practical, hands-on thanks-giving which relieves a sister’s suffering.