It All Started With A Thanksgiving Basket

Natalie Shat

Natalie Shat

Move Out Intern

“This is a story of two unlikely families meeting and God using a Kensington Thanksgiving Basket as an opportunity to open a door to a relationship that otherwise would not have happened.”

The air is crisp and it’s that time of the year when we intentionally reflect on all we are thankful for. It’s also the season when I’m reminded of a special, God-inspired friendship that developed between two families from two very different backgrounds. Four years ago, God used delivering a Thanksgiving Basket to help my family really understand what it meant to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Thanksgiving Baskets are an open door.

In 2017, my family and I decided to volunteer for the Kensington Thanksgiving Basket event. We gathered in the church to fill baskets, loaded the baskets into our minivan, and set out to Pontiac to visit three families. We weren’t sure what to expect that morning, but when we knocked on the door of the third and last house, little did we know this would be the beginning of an ongoing friendship.  

Love your neighbor as yourself.
Mark 12:31

The door opened and we were warmly welcomed. The mom spoke Spanish, so her oldest daughter was our interpreter and told us how thankful she was for our visit and the basket to feed her large family. After we prayed with the family and gathered back into our minivan, I looked back at my young children in the backseat and felt full of gratitude. The visit with this family stayed on my mind for days. 

I look back now and recognize that it was God who was knocking at the door of my heart asking me to take the next step to love our neighbors. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I felt compelled to reach out to the family and ask if they would send us a Christmas wish list.  

…we give because we’ve been given to.

For four years now, we have included this family in our Christmas traditions. My kids help to pick out and wrap Christmas gifts and I use this to remind my kids that we give because we’ve been given to. And, we are obeying Jesus when we reach out and love our neighbors.

Our two families plan a day around Christmas to get together. We bring over gifts for the children, and they make us amazing tamales and tea.

We have been able to watch all of their seven kids grow up and they’ve seen our two kids get bigger. We hear of milestone events like their eldest daughter getting her driver’s license.

What started off as a nudge from God, has turned into a Christmas tradition for our families.

This is a story of two unlikely families meeting and God using a Kensington Thanksgiving Basket as an opportunity to open a door to a relationship that otherwise would not have happened. My hope is to become close enough to share meals together throughout the year.

Someone once said, “if we are are not loving intentionally, we are intentionally not loving.” My family is learning to love others intentionally – even though it can feel awkward – and we’re making a lasting connection and showing this family the love and and kindness of Jesus. We’re also helping to make their Christmas more joyful!

By sharing this story, I hope others will be inspired to step out of their comfort zone and into a relationship where least expected.

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updated June 23, 2021

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