This Thanksgiving, Instead of getting caught up in family drama or getting angry in the extra slow lines at the grocery store, let us remember that Thanksgiving is based on the first act of radical welcoming. Without the aid of the Wampanoag Indian tribe, the Pilgrims would have starved to death. In fact, by the end of their first winter, half of the original Pilgrims were already dead.
What can we do to live out the “radical welcoming” that we celebrate today? Where can we welcome the stranger or the unwanted child?
Like in this heartwarming story, where a grandma texted who she thought was her grandson — but when it turned out to be a wrong number, she maintained the invitation and welcomed another young man to her Thanksgiving because “that’s what grandmas do…feed everyone.”
Or like in the story of Thea* whose young niece became unexpectedly pregnant and who pressured her to have an abortion. Through several phone calls with Options United, Thea’s perspective changed entirely and in her final follow-up call she gushed that she could not wait to throw a baby shower to welcome the new baby.
In 2014, there were 926,200 abortions.
This Thanksgiving, go beyond the dinner table to practice both the radical hospitality of the Wampanoag Indians. “Radical welcoming” means recognizing the humanity in all people and in sacrificing so that they can be welcomed.
Thanksgiving at its core is about making space in our own hearts for unwanted or unexpected children. Whether through adoption, fostering and mentoring, we can carry the spirit of Thanksgiving throughout the whole year by welcoming children and encouraging others to do so as well.
*Not her real name