On Thanksgiving, the turkey, stuffing, rolls, potatoes, and pumpkin pie blend together to create the smell of family, food, and home. A smell that wafts throughout the house and lingers in our memories….at least until Black Friday hits, when we hit the shopping centers to overdraft our credit cards once again in celebration of everything we have…and having more of it. Amidst the general commotion of this holiday, we manage to say a few thanks for the many blessing God has given us. But we forget. At least, I forget. There are those who have not.
That familiar smell of family, whether it be created by the turkey roasting in the oven or the boys wrestling on the living room floor, is something entirely unknown by over 143 million children. Orphans. Without family. It is unknown by the 27 million men, women, and children being exploited by the human trafficking industry. Without family. Without comfort. Without hope.
Isaiah 61:1-3 has been a guiding passage for me over the last few years and I saw it today from an entirely new perspective. The relevance for the fatherless, the enslaved, and the abused is powerful.
“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”
This is God’s redemptive purpose and the work of His Son. It’s result is identified in the following chapter:
“The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”
This Thanksgiving, join me in remembering those who have not been blessed as we are. Amongst our thanks for what God has given, let us say a prayer for those who are broken, hurting, trapped, and alone. And, perhaps, join me in praying that God would make it clear how you and I are to carry out His redemptive purpose to the fatherless and enslaved over this next year.