Tim and Jill Way

Adventures of the Way Family

A Family Thanksgiving

A Family Thanksgiving. Early on Thanksgiving afternoon, Nathan and I pulled into Owen Park. It was pretty cold, but not too bad — probably around 40 degrees, with the sun shining. Jill had been here earlier, helping the set-up crew. She had just run home for a short break, and to get the rest of the kids. Nathan and I wandered around, greeting friends and meeting new ones. We walked over to the turkey frying area, where some men were frying and carving a ridiculous number of turkeys. The flag football game in the field was winding down, and sweaty dudes were heading over to find something to drink. I found the coffee, and Nathan got some hot chocolate. At around 3:00 all of us – around 150 people who were there at the time (a total of close to 200 people came at some point during the day) – circled up and prayed. And then we feasted like the richest people on earth. Turkey and potatoes and vegetables and rolls and cranberries and stuffing and sweet potatoes and on and on and on. And then crazy amounts of dessert.

Thanksgiving is a day to be with family, and remember all the things we are thankful for. But what about those who have no family? Some have been rejected, others have run away from abuse. Some simply have no way of getting back home, and are unsure if they would be welcome if they did. Many are bound by addictions, or hampered by mental illness, or have alienated themselves from friends and family due to their own actions. Still, Jesus calls out to them with compassion and grace. These are our friends who call the streets home, and who call the people they find there family. Holidays can be rough times.

For the last two years, some of my favorite people from the Boiler Room’s Thursday Night Bbq crew have hosted Thanksgiving in the park. Jesse, Rachel, Karissa, James, Katie, John, and many others worked and prayed and served countless hours to make it all happen this year. The heart behind this event is for the family of God to open our hearts and share the holiday with those in need, as Jesus commanded in the scripture above. It is a powerful visual invitation for people to experience God’s family and the love of Christ.

I truly can’t think of a better way to spend Thanksgiving. I loved sitting at the long tables, sharing the meal and the day with such a diverse group of people – suburban families like mine mixing with grizzled homeless men and a fantastic array of characters. It is the Father’s heart to extend His family to those whom the world often considers “the least of these” – homeless, addicted, poor, drunk, on the run, scared, sick, fatherless. All of these are precious to Jesus, and how His heart longs for them! There were lots of smiles and plenty of laughter and hugs and ‘God-bless-you-s’ and ‘mmm-this-is-good-s!’.

We closed out the evening by getting in a circle and holding hands. By this time many had headed out in search of warmth and rest, but those who remained all had the chance to share what they are thankful for. Just like we do it at home. It’s good to be with family on Thanksgiving Day.

For more information about the ongoing ministry of the Thursday Night Bbq, go to www.thursdaynightbbq.com or write to: thursday_night_bbq@yahoo.com


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