By Lisa Huddleston
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (I Thess. 5:18)
Like many of you, I have been texting, emailing, and calling relatives over the past few days working to find the best times and optimal ways to get us all together for a meal on Thanksgiving Day. Part of the annual logistics for this awesome gathering is planning the menu so that we don’t have too many duplicates and everyone can contribute a dish that she or he likes to make and that their families like to eat. Right at the beginning, let me say I am thankful for the many ways to connect with those I love. Email has simplified this task greatly, and our meal is planned. It will be a Potluck Extraordinaire, as usual. Way too much food and way too many cooks in the kitchen.
As I have pondered this huge feast, I have laughed as some have moaned over the absence of a favorite dish or shown some distaste for what their addition to the meal will be. I have had to promise my eldest that I will make his favorite later in the week and have asked some to make a little less than maybe they would like to in order to avoid too much excess—but it promises to be delicious, and I guarantee that no one will leave hungry.
Along with my inward chuckles, there is a growing awareness of how appropriate a potluck Thanksgiving meal really is. After all, isn’t life a potluck? Don’t we have to accept some things that aren’t exactly what we would like and don’t we have to manage our relationships with the bringers (and Giver) of those strange dishes with thanksgiving? (No, Mom or Mom-in-law or sisters or brothers-in-law or fiancés or girlfriends, I’m not saying that anyone is bringing anything strange! It’s just a metaphor.) But that’s life, and that’s what potlucks are all about.
And therefore, I am thankful for turkey and dressing (both northern and southern style) and cranberries (fresh and canned) and deviled eggs and pies and tea (sweet and un) and anything else that makes its way onto our buffet for this Thanksgiving meal. Just as I have learned to be thankful for jobs that turned out to be more than expected, out-of-the-blue calls for help, surprise guests, not enough bedrooms and couches that “sleep good.” I am thankful for misunderstandings set right, boundaries that make good neighbors, sore muscles, and junk yard dogs that live in my house.
Heavenly Father, your will for me in Jesus Christ is sometimes surprising but always good. For the whole potluck called life, I am thankful.