Giving Thanks: Three Families Celebrate Tradition

Each year, loved ones gather on Thanksgiving Day to eat, laugh, reminisce and create new memories together. Whether we celebrate with relatives, close friends or our community, we all stop for a moment to reflect on the true meaning of family: people who love us for who we are and will do whatever it takes to provide for and protect us. Three families share how they will be celebrating Thanksgiving this year.

 “Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, a period of time where we pause to consider all that we as a family have to be grateful for.  The Tuesday before the holiday will be spent feeding homeless and less fortunate people in our faith community's feeding program. Thanksgiving Day, our home will be filled with family and friends as well as members of the community who don't have anyone to spend the holiday with.  I’ll be preparing a huge meal of traditional and African-inspired foods.  Michael, my partner of 10 years, will host dominoes, bid whist and spades games.  Our 14-year-old daughter, Imani, will coordinate entertaining youth and adults with board games, movies and music.” – Pastor Anthony Sullivan, Chicago, IL

“I return home to St. Paul, Minnesota, for the holidays.  Waiting for me are my parents, my 62-year-old father and 60-year-old mother. Now that they have both retired, they’re excited to have more time to spend with me, their openly gay son.  Also waiting are my brothers, ages 40 and 37, and their children.  I will bake cookies with my niece and nephews. My brothers and I must play the latest version of Madden at least three times (it’s tradition!); and for some reason we've become convinced that rising at 3AM the day after Thanksgiving makes sense—even when we return home without any gifts.

There are three things that I’m most thankful for at Thanksgiving: my mother's dressing, my father's turkey salad, and my sister-in-law's macaroni and cheese.  Oh, and my family! More than anything, the holidays always remind me that I don't go home often enough; and that unless you slow down from your fast-paced life, the simple things will pass you by.” – Trevon Logan, Columbus, OH

 “My wife Erika and I are the founders of Agape Empowerment Ministries, Savannah's only all-inclusive non-denominational congregation. For us Thanksgiving is a time to give back to our community. This Thanksgiving we will help feed the homeless.  With the help of our 21-year-old daughter, Mariah, we will be donating our time, talents, and money to prepare meals and help distribute them to the homeless community in Savannah. Our family extends past those that live in our household; our entire church is considered our family. We look forward to sharing a meal with all of Agape.”- Pastor Candace Hardnett, Savannah, GA