Based on Luke 14:15-24
by Debra Dian
Pumpkin spice aroma filled Eunice’s house. She had just baked two pumpkin pies and one pumpkin cheesecake and after they cooled, these would go in the freezer until Thanksgiving Day. Months ago, Eunice had invited her two daughters, their husbands, three grandchildren and also her nephew and his wife and new baby to Thanksgiving Day dinner.
They had all responded by text message that they were planning to come.
She had also gathered hats, like Pilgrims would have worn, and Indian head bands. And Eunice planned to wear a Pilgrim costume, a long grey dress with a white apron and white bonnet.
Eunice had already planned the menu and purchased all the ingredients for a traditional turkey dinner. Now it was three days before Thanksgiving and with pies all done, Eunice set about to make the sweet potato casserole and then she would make the dough for the Angel Biscuits. Taking a coffee break, she sat down at her desk to read from the Bible and pray. Then checking her phone, she noticed a message. It was from her daughter Leslie.
“Sorry, Mom. We won’t be able to come to Thanksgiving dinner. The kids have the flu. They’re home in bed. I hope I don’t get it.”
Eunice prayed for her family to get well and responded by text.
“Don’t worry, just get well.” But, of course, Eunice was very disappointed.
Later that evening Eunice received another text message from her other daughter, Lynn.
“Looks like Robbie will have to work Thanksgiving because one of his managers is not able to work. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for them. Josh and his family won’t be coming either. They just moved into their new house and want to stay home and have baby’s first Thanksgiving there. Sorry Mom. Maybe next year.”
Eunice let out a long sigh. Tears trickled from the corners of her eyes. She made a cup of hot chocolate to help her sleep. And while reading some of her favorite Psalms she prayed for her family.
Next day she called, Gary and Janet, her next-door neighbors and invited them to Thanksgiving Day dinner.
“We would love to come.” Janet sighed as she explained. “Gary just lost his job, and we were wondering what to do about a Thanksgiving meal. We can’t afford to travel anywhere to visit parents–I could bring some homemade bread.”
“No need, plenty of food. Just come over around noon.”
She didn’t have phone numbers for the other neighbors, so she decided to go for a walk and knock on doors to invite more people to come. She had prepared written invitations from a box of greeting cards with her name, address and phone number.
“You are invited to a Thanksgiving Day celebration–it will begin around noon. Just come as you are. All welcome.”
When Thanksgiving Day arrived, Eunice began preparing early in the morning with Bible reading, prayer and song, wondering what surprises the day would bring.
♪“This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it…”♪
Overflowing with joy, she placed the turkey in the oven, took the pies and casseroles out of the freezer, and made a huge bowl of salad greens with fresh vegetables–then prepared the table with holiday placemats, napkins, plates and silverware. She cleared, cleaned and decorated the buffet table, standing back to admire how beautifully festive it looked with the little paper pumpkins and turkeys. This is where all the desserts would go along with a crock of hot apple cider and mugs with cinnamon sticks.
Snoopy, the cat, behaved and stayed off the table and counters since he was promised his own bowl of turkey giblets with gravy.
Neighbors began arriving around noon and were seated at the table. Additional tables had been set up for the children. Gary, Janet and their three children were seated along with Marta, Hector and their son. They had just emigrated from Mexico. Also, seated at the table were Mason and Phoebe from Nigeria. They were expecting their first child in February. They had emigrated to the U.S. to attend college and then Mason began working for a local corporation. Also, seated at the table, Verona, an elderly woman who had originally come from Lebanon many years ago. She had brought, Baklava, a dessert to share. Then next to Verona, Marcus, an elderly African American man who would frequently sit outside on his porch and visit with neighbors who walked by. Also, Jay and Jen, originally from Japan. They had children away in college and wanted to visit with neighbors who had frequently come to their restaurant for dinner. And seated next to them Ravi and Esther, originally from India. Both were medical students and interns at the hospital.
Everyone enjoyed chatting, delighted to know each other better.
Eunice stood at the head of the table preparing to serve the meal. “Before we begin, want to thank you all for coming to celebrate the harvest with me. Reminds me of a something Jesus has taught us in the Bible. In the Kingdom of God, everyone is invited. But not everyone accepts the invitation. God has provided his only Son, the perfect Son of God as a sacrifice to atone for our sin. Salvation is offered to all. Everyone who believes in Christ’s shed blood for cleansing of sin is given life with God forever and one day will have a place at the table, the celebration feast with Christ in heaven. We need bring nothing to the table except faith in Christ alone. This will be the greatest harvest celebration of all. A great harvest of souls for God through Christ.”
“Marcus we would be honored if you would say a prayer of blessing.”
Everyone bowed their heads as Marcus prayed. “Our Father in heaven, thank you for…”
This story is a fictionalization. Any mention of historical events, people and places are used fictitiously and any likeness to actual events, places or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.