The Common Good

Take Action: Holiday Thanks and Letters in Solidarity

Speaking of the widow’s offering, Jesus says: “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)

Today, families across America will gather round tables full of food. They will hold hands and pray. They will give thanks for the blessings that have come to each member over the past year. Some of these families’ tables will be covered with turkeys, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and yams; symbols of abundant blessing. Others will give thanks over Hillshire Farms sliced turkey sandwiches on Wonder bread; symbols of blessing in the midst of hard slog of poverty. Though their tables are bare, their thanks offerings are full of power. For, like the widow’s offering, Jesus reveres the offerings of the poor.

This Thanksgiving, as your family holds hands and give thanks and as your church packs Thanksgiving dinner baskets, and this Christmas season churches prepare gift baskets for those Jesus called “The Least of these” (Matthew 25:40) we at Sojourners ask you to do one more thing: Take five minutes and handwrite a simple letter to your member of Congress. 

As our legislators make deals to avoid the “fiscal cliff” this holiday season, many are concerned that the poor will be forgotten in this process. You can make a difference. Write a letter that calls on your Congress member to place a “circle of protection” around the poor in this process. 

Sample Letter

Your name

Your address


Dear  (name of your Representative or Senator),

Paragraph 1:  Describe what your church is doing to help the poor in your community, and around the world. 

Paragraph 2:  Ask your leader to develop a deficit reduction agreement that gets our fiscal house in order while placing a circle of protection around poor and vulnerable people both at home and abroad. 

Paragraph 3:  Ask your leader to tell you what he or she is doing to protect the poor as he or she works to balance the budget.

Paragraph 4:  Assure your leader of your prayers for wisdom and courage as he or she makes these important decisions.


(Your name)

Where to write:

The Honorable ___________________                   

U.S. House of Representatives                            

Washington, DC 20515                                            

The Honorable ___________________   

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Thank you. May God bless you, your family and your congregation with blessings as you bless the poor through the ministry of solidarity this holiday season. 

Lisa Sharon Harper is the Director of Mobilizing at Sojourners. She is also co-author of Left, Right and Christ: Evangelical Faith in Politics and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat.

Photo: Family holiday meal, © Pressmaster | View Portfolio /


Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories


Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)