Growing up, I never wondered if there was going to be a turkey on the table. I never questioned if I would have a place to go to celebrate with loved ones. In my world, there has always been enough food to feed the multitude. And we continually play the game, year after year, of finding room to store all the leftover sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, calico bean dip, and pumpkin pie. I have always had plenty of options of where to celebrate---actually there are too many!! And we have always grown up with the permission to invite anyone to our house, if we knew they would not have a place to go.
It's easy to get bogged down in the details of running from point A to point B. It is easy to let the guilt of not being able to make every stop in one day weigh a little heavy on my shoulders. It's easy to get caught up in decorations that adorn our own dining room table. It is easy to lose sight of having a turkey period, when trying to think of what else should be served alongside it. It's easy to forget what this day is really about, and it's even easier to forget the abundance of blessings that overflow my everyday life.
Not because I took the initiative to find opportunities, but rather because I have some amazing friends who laid the opportunity at my feet, this week, I had the privilege of serving those in our community who have found themselves in need this Thanksgiving. By being in the right place at the right time, divine appointment you might say, I was able to deliver a turkey dinner to a family, which in reality probably wonders each and every year if they will have a meal like the rest of us to gather around and enjoy. After several moments of knocking and waiting in the rain, two young boys timidly open the door. Once we handed over the frozen turkey and the bag of yummy sides, my eyes filled with tears as their faces went from those of fear to those of complete joy. As we turned to walk away the littlest with his big smile wished us a cheerful "Happy Thanksgiving."
Prior to that, I had the chance to spend a few hours with some of the cutest, most energized kids of the boys and girls club of Petersburg. We got to serve them Thanksgiving dinner and I had the pleasure of making bracelets and necklaces with several of the little girls. I could not tell you who out of that room would be sitting down at a table with loved ones, eating a delicious turkey with all the fixings tomorrow, and which ones of those kids had no idea what it means to celebrate Thanksgiving like most of us do. All I can tell you is that there are so many people that are in need in our communities. And it is so easy to not think about this faceless beast until you start putting names, and beautiful smiles, and high fives, and laughter, and bashful ”thank yous” to it.
I have been given so much in this life, much more than I ever could deserve. So much that I sadly and too often take it all for granted. Luke 12:48b is on repeat in my head today: “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”
This Thanksgiving and the days leading up to, have been an incredible reminder that not only do I have so much to be thankful for, and not only are there so many in our community, in our backyards that desperately need our help, but it’s been a reminder that I have been called to, required to do “much” about it.
That, for me, is a sobering thought as I head out to begin this year’s Thanksgiving festivities.
Tomorrow, as I gather with loved ones and partake in some good eatin', and as I remember those smiles, and high fives, and beautiful eyes from those precious children, it is my prayer that I wrestle with the uncomfortably of Luke 12:48b. That I am able to step up, to be obedient to the essential core of my calling, to serve selflessly, to give generously, to love unconditionally, and to point back to the One who deserves all the praise and glory for all the good things He has done.