The turkey’s skin crunches as it is cut. The stuffing’s steam invites. The butter melts and oozes over the lump-free mashed potatoes. The desserts tantalize.
Family streams through the open door. Coats are hung. Greetings distributed.
Thus begins Thanksgiving Day – a day traditionally filled with family, relaxation, lots of food, and dare I say, football (I’ve already been told which teams play this year).
For the hostess, it is a day of work. One she (or he?) usually enjoys. Some love serving. For these, enjoyment comes from watching their loved ones eat heartily. ”Pass the turkey,” is music to the ears. “May I have more green bean salad?” brings a secret grin. “Are these rolls homemade?” is a pat on the back. The sense of fulfillment derives from watching others take delight in the masterpieces set before them.
But sometimes . . . the following conversation takes place:
“Would you like some apple pie?”
“No, thank you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
“But I know how much you love apple pie. I made it especially for you.”
The guest feels trapped. At this point in the conversation one of two things may happen:
One, the guest has a slice of pie. He/she feels obligated to eat to avoid an argument or to avoid rejecting the hostess. And let’s face it – because she/he really wanted the apple pie anyway.
Two, the guest continues to refuse the pie, adding reasons, but begins to feel uncomfortable and possibly a bit miffed. It is difficult enough to refuse something so enticing once. But stating your case while saying no is just plain awkward.
The above hostess receives love by serving. Therefore, she may feel rejected or insulted if a loved one does not eat. Because she has spent numerous hours preparing for this moment, she may feel let down if others aren’t as enthusiastic about the food. She may feel like a failure.
Some truths for a guest to remember:
- Pray before attending the gathering. Let the Holy Spirit guide you in deciding what to eat, how much to eat, and what not to eat.
- Be sensitive without being defensive. Your hostess has spent a lot of time and money preparing for the gathering. So respond in love. On the other hand, you do not need to defend your position. “No, thank you,” with a smile should be sufficient. If your hostess persists, stand your ground with a loving attitude.
- Your love and acceptance comes from God, not those around you.
- You are loved and accepted by God (no matter who eats or doesn’t eat your meal).
- Your guest is not rejecting you. He/she is saying no to food.
- It can be difficult for a guest to say no (because he/she really wants to say yes), so do not continue to tempt him/her by asking again.
- Focus on the original purpose for the gathering – to give thanks to God for His bountiful provisions.
I pray God will be blessed and glorified in and through us as we gather to remember His provisions and the beginning of our nation next Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!