When I close my eyes I can still smell the sweetness of the apples.
I can still see row upon row of carrots and turnips and onions and cabbage sitting proudly along the window sills beneath stained glass.
I can still hear the notes of the organ and children’s voices as we sing, ‘Come ye Thankful People Come, Raise the Song of Harvest Home.’
Harvest Festival in England was always a wonderful time. Never had our little church looked so pretty as when her altar was laden with baskets of apples and every available space adorned with the greens and browns and reds and oranges of Autumn.
And although I obviously never celebrated Thanksgiving in England, the colors and sentiments of the harvest season are the same. Families gather, food is shared, and thanks is given.
A few miles away, a wonderful Thanksgiving table is being prepared for me by my American family. As I write, I know that my host is standing at her kitchen sink. She is most probably peeling, and mixing, and measuring.
I know that a place is reserved for me at her table. I know that as I sit at that table, it will be laden with an abundance of food: an enormous platter of turkey; a bowlful of steaming mashed potatoes; a variety of vegetables, and fruit pies in abundance. I will share in that feast. And I will come away full.
And I think about the wonderful host God must be, and how a place is reserved at that huge table for me.
Can’t you just picture God standing at heaven’s sink, preparing that feast- a massive table laden with love, and joy, and peace in abundance? And God smiling, holding a gigantic pitcher, ready to pour a never ending supply of hope and forgiveness to all who are willing to bring their cup to the table?
But therein lies the problem.
In order for us to be filled with God’s best, we must bring an empty cup.
We cannot bring one that is already full… of fear, or anxiety, or jealousy, or busyness. And aren’t they the real enemies at the table? When we are filled with those things, it leaves us no room for anything else.
But if we can learn how to come to the table emptied of the world’s worries, ready to be filled with God’s greatness, then what a feast we will share!
We will sit at a Thanksgiving table where our enemies are conquered, and where the host is One who never stops pouring. And my cup will not just be filled…
It will simply overflow.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5