In less than 2 weeks we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, a time heavily traveled as individuals make their way to that special place where they will celebrate with loved ones. It is special for me, because the focus of the day is on families and friends gathering to share life around the table, and giving thanks to our Lord for His bountiful provision.
My childhood memories of Thanksgiving at my grandparents’ house remain very special. It was a time when relatives would show up, sometimes without notice, but there was always a place at the table, as well as enough food. The adults would discuss events of the day, while the children were exiled to the “smaller” table, awaiting the time when they would graduate to the “big folks” table. Memories of the aroma from the kitchen and the feeling of warmth and acceptance remain after many years.
Times around the table are so much more than merely taking care of the physical needs of our bodies. They are times when we share life, recount memories. How special it is to receive an invitation to a person’s home and there enjoy the host’s hospitality. It is a time to shut out the worries and distractions of our lives and simply enjoy the fellowship of the moment, especially if we have mastered the art of listening.
There are numerous biblical stories where the setting is at the dinner table. I am thinking about two in particular that seem to go with these memories.
The first (John 21) is after Jesus’ resurrection, when Peter and other disciples went fishing, something they were skilled at doing. But after an entire night, they caught nothing. But at the direction of Jesus, they cast their nets on “the other side,” and caught a great multitude of fish. When they came to shore, they discovered that Jesus had made provision for them to be fed, and He invited them to “come and eat …” It was following their breakfast on the beach that Jesus restored Peter.
The second is when Jesus is requesting entry into the world of the Laodicean church (Rev. 3:20). “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
Notice the process. Jesus is knocking on the “door” to enter their life. It requires ears, not tuned to other sounds, to be able to hear His voice. For those who hear, an action is required to open the door for Him to gain entrance into our life. BUT, those are the individuals that will have the opportunity of hosting Him at the table.
As you spend time with your family and friends at your Thanksgiving Dinner, enjoy those precious moments together. May I also suggest that we don’t overlook the individual who, for various reasons, may not have a place to spend the holiday.
Give thanks for God’s provision, and fellowship with your friends and family.
Pastor Allen Baun