Thanksgiving is the most hospitable of days.
It’s probably not how we usually think of the purpose of the day, after all, THANKS giving.
However, if you’re like me, if you’re at all involved in the preparation for the events that traditionally accompany the day, I bet you know what I’m saying. After the flurry of dishes have been pulled from the oven and last minute details -- salt and pepper at each end, a spoon for the cranberry sauce -- have been set on the table, and you hosts and hostesses sit down at the table laden with foods for feasting and decor for admiring, when you are prompted along with the rest to share what you are thankful for, you may find, like I do sometimes, that it takes a minute for you to shift your function from one of giving to thanking.
Gratitude is what it is about. We give thanks because of the abundance of blessings we’ve received from the Greatest of Givers, our God. It’s modeled for us throughout Scripture, from the patriarchs’ setting up of places of remembrance to the psalmists’ lyrical refrains of gratitude to the theologically rich liturgies of thanks from the writers of the epistles. All of our needs met, too many of our wants granted, with much love and grace and mercy thrown in, most particularly if we possess the Greatest Gift from the Greatest of Givers, Jesus the Savior, and can look with confidence to the hope of resurrection.
So year after year, we all repeat the little exercise of expressing our gratitude for all that God has given to us because, even while a part of us may react cynically to the insincerity of the ritual, we know we must not appear unthankful. No matter how disingenuous the words may sound, we know, we really do know, how much God has done to bless and benefit our lives.
He is has shown hospitality beyond anything we have ever experienced, welcomed us into his realm, insisted we are now seen as family and not merely guests. We have had the fatted calf prepared for a feast in our name, and the grandest of cloaks laid across our shoulders. We have been ushered to the table and we sit with his family, loved, engaged, feted, nourished. All of our sorrows soothed, all of our worries erased, all of our crimes forgiven, all of our inadequacies covered by the marvelous work of the Son.
This is the reason we show hospitality. Do I know myself to be an undeserved guest at the table of the King? I want others to know that, too! I can’t extend his gift of salvation, but I can model him in grace and kindness. Let me prepare for the day, in love and gratitude to him, with a heart transformed by the power of his spirit, so that guests at my table can be made to feel welcome, honored and appreciated. It’s the glory of his presence that makes the gathering a celebration. It doesn’t matter what foods the dishes hold, or how fancy the dishes are, or how impressive the setting is, or whether the hosts or the guests have worldly status. He makes the day beautiful and gracious and warm and welcoming for all.
It doesn’t make sense, though, to keep all this to myself. A good hostess does not hold back the best morsels from her table; our model, the King of Hosts, never hesitates to share his bounty with us.
I can start with my children, making sure they comprehend why we do what we do. If there are others helping with the meal who don’t know the biblical pattern for hospitality, what a perfect opportunity to share as we chop vegetables or set the table side by side. Do we all see how this is not a one-time, or once-every-so-often, behavior, but a habit of hospitality flowing forth from a posture of gratitude? Greeting strangers at the church door, providing a meal for family and friends gather for a funeral -- perhaps of someone I’d never met, but I do know their mourners need to be refreshed with hospitality. Opening my home to those in need, reaching across the divide to those who consider me their enemy.
We practice self-denial and self-sacrifice, perhaps the most beautiful of Jesus’s attributes, when we show hospitality.
We acknowledge our true place of humility before God in considering others more highly than ourselves.
We open our wings and shelter those hurting and broken, as God has done us.
We break bread with other believers and enter into communion with Christ.
We discover the power of the Spirit in creativity and resourcefulness when we learn to make the best presentation possible, and yet we realize it is nothing compared to the grand feast he has prepared for us in eternity.
We extend grace to some who, perhaps, have wounded us, despised us, abused us, because He has power to convert our resentment and distrust into mercy and generosity.
We fulfill the law of Christ in bearing one another's burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
Laura Miller aka mrsdkmiller
Looking for a list of articles published around the web?
Looking for posts written in response to 5-Minute Friday prompts? Click here:
Her March Isn't Over
Across the River
When God Pries My Fingers Off My Children
Life's Defining Moments
To the Christian Wife Who Berated Her Husband in Front of My Daughter
Zeal and Grace in France
An Unconventional Love Story
Seeing What's in Front of Our Eyes
Remembering Why I Called You Hannah
Love Your Sister.
Because He Came Home
Go Valiantly! A Prayer for New Homeschooling Moms
© lauraenglandmiller, #thereyougothinkingagain, Laura E Miller
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