The Least of These

Dear Peanut and Munchkin,

Today is Thanksgiving Day. We will spend the day thanking God for all our blessings, celebrating with family, and eating a lot of good food.

At the same time, there will be many individuals and families – even children like you – who don’t have enough to eat or a roof over their heads. Some are alone, without family or even a friend. In the midst of our plenty, my heart grieves for these who live in want.

When I was growing up, money was tight for our family. Thankfully, we never lost our home or went without food or clothes, water or heat. But I remember my parents having a lot of worried conversations over money. “Robbing Peter to pay Paul” was a common phrase as they discussed which bills to pay each month. My dad drove beat-up, used cars that frequently broke down and left him stranded somewhere. I often felt embarrassed by my patched, out-of-style clothes; I envied my friends who seemed to have everything I wanted. And we never had visitors except for family; I always went to my friends’ houses for play dates. For me, there was a stark contrast between what I saw in their homes compared to mine. Even so, I had everything I needed plus extras. My parents made sacrifices so I could attend parochial schools, participate in 4-H, and take piano lessons. Sometimes it was difficult for my child’s mind to recognize it, but I was very blessed.

More and more people have fallen into poverty as the recession has left many jobless and unable to support their families. Your father and I give as we are able, but even if we gave 100% of our income, there wouldn’t be enough to go around. So today I am thankful for the many charities who serve the poor. They are able to bring together the generosity of a larger number of people and use it to efficiently serve those who are struggling to make ends meet.

I pray that you will never know the worry and desperation that come with having more expenses than money to go around. I pray you will never be faced with choosing which necessities you can afford. And I pray you will always be generous to people who are challenged by such realities each day. Remember these words of Christ:

The King will reply,”‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

–Matthew 25:40 NIV

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