A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dave's Deep Thoughts - Where are the Mashed Potatoes??

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA.
What if you could have it all?
But more importantly,
what do you do when you don't?
I love Thanksgiving.
It is by far,
my favorite holiday.
No pressure to find the right gift.
No hours of putting up (and taking down) decorations
No schedule filled with a million events.
Thanksgiving for me is 2-3 days set aside
to be with family,
to enjoy time playing games and watching movies together,
to enjoy a wonderful feast,
and to slow down and ponder just how much I have for which to be thankful.
When I was invited to a pre-Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving dinner at a friend's home,
I was doubly excited.
It felt like the holiday had been extended another day.
My favorite moment,
has always been the moment when everyone sits down
at the table.
For anyone who takes time to let it all soak in,
it is a holy moment.
Lit candles,
linen tablecloth,
beautiful floral centerpiece,
quiet music in the background,
the look of anticipation on each person's face,
and all the delicious aromas wafting through the air....
There is that moment when everyone
gazes to see all that is on the table.
I am no different.
stuffing/filling/ dressing or whatever you call it in your neck of the woods..........yup
sweet potatoes (with or without raisins)......awesome
cranberry sauce.......not out of a can
creamed corn.......bring it on
that awesome green been casserole with the onion rings on top........love it
rolls & butter..........yessirreee homemade!
gravy.......of course
the obligatory jello salad made by some great aunt......hoping it doesn't have nuts in it
Then the call to ask the blessing.
"Where are the mashed potatoes?"
Everyone bows their heads.
"They have to be somewhere....."
The prayer is being offered
and all I can do is think about the location of the spuds.
"Dear Lord....."
"Maybe they are hidden behind the roll basket."
"We thank you for all that you have given us...."
"Maybe the host kept them in the kitchen to keep them warm........"
"Thank you for all your blessings...."
"Maybe, maybe........"
I had run out of maybes.
An amen is sounded and confirmed by all at the table.
Someone picks up the roll basket to pass.
No mashed potatoes in sight.
The host returns from the kitchen .........with jam.
I had never before eaten Thanksgiving dinner without mashed potatoes.
A myriad of thoughts when through my mind.....
Maybe my friends were anti-taters?
What was I going to mix my corn into?
Where was I going to put my reservoir of gravy??????
What if you could have it all?
But more importantly,
what do you do when you don't?
I must admit,
it took me until the second helping of Aunt Gladys' jello salad
to accept that I was going taterless that day
(with all due respect to the yams.....)
Part of me of me began to feel guilty,
that I would allow the absence of a vegetable to influence
the wonderful gift of table and friends that I had been given that day.
By the time the pecan and pumpkin pies were circulating,
I realized just how ungrateful I could be when sitting at the table of gratitude.
I had been given a feast,
and the thought that dominated me
was of the one thing that I couldn't have.
It is a side of myself that I don't like
If we are honest,
we can all be like that.
Whether it be a menu,
our lifestyle,
our possessions,
our worship.....
How easily our feathers can be ruffled
if things don't work out exactly they way we think they should.
Have I learned something?
I hope so.
What if you could have it all?
But more importantly,
what do you do when you don't?
I hope that my answer is.......
to give thanks with a grateful heart.
May it be so with you.
In everything give thanks,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus
I Thessalonians 5:18

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