Mission Minded Homes This Thanksgiving
November 2023
By a member of SEND’s Diaspora | North America team 

One question will soon be asked at Thanksgiving gatherings across the United States: “What are you thankful for?” The answers will undoubtedly vary, but I would guess that at the top of the list, many will say friends and family. This is also true for Muslim refugee and immigrant families who have arrived among us. Friends and family are at the heart of what refugees and immigrants miss the most in this new land. Almost all Muslims come from very relational communities, and now they are in a new land without the support structure of their previous community. Who will they seek out to be their new community? Who will seek them out to see what needs they have? What a golden opportunity to reach out with the love of Christ and extend hospitality to these families.Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and appreciation of our own blessings but it is also a prime time to share your blessings with others. Could you reach out this year and invite a Muslim family from your neighborhood or workplace for a meal together? When you do so, keep a few things in mind.First, ask about their food restrictions. This immediately shows that you are intentional and genuinely interested in having them come. Meeting their food restrictions is not difficult. Second, consider asking your guests to bring something to share at the meal. This is a way for them to be able to contribute instead of always being on the receiving end of things. They too have pride, and it is helpful and healthy for them to contribute to the meal.When everyone is gathered together for the meal, before or after giving thanks, go around the room and ask people what they are thankful for this year. This gives them an opportunity to share something. It also gives you a chance to share your gratitude for God’s blessings and provisions, especially his provision of forgiveness and life in Jesus Christ.

As a family, we have adopted a Thanksgiving season mentality. Instead of just having a Thanksgiving Day celebration, I would encourage you to adopt the season. Go ahead and invite guests to your house on Thanksgiving Day, but also consider inviting a Muslim refugee family the week before or after! We take the same approach to Christmas and have a Christmas season instead of just a Christmas Day celebration.Muslims are very used to this concept as their major holidays are celebrated for several days, not confined to any one day. In fact, we have had some Muslims comment that Christmas must not be a big holiday because Christians only take one day off! We should let them know that we are very thankful for God’s blessings, and celebrate it over a 10-day or two-week period! (And do the same for Christmas and Easter!)Thanksgiving and Christmas are the easiest holidays of the year to invite a Muslim family for a meal. You have a great excuse to invite them to come, and there is lots to talk about!

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