Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.1 Peter 4:8-9
Since we’re 25 days into our 45 Days of Thankfulness, we might as well talk about the holiday that is all about giving thanks: Arbor Day. That’s right, it’s when we go up to a tree, hug it, and thank it for its shade and beauty. The second most popular gratitude-themed holiday would be Thanksgiving. It’s pretty great and the one holiday I used to be picky about when it came to where and what I ate. If you take gratitude out of the holiday (yes, I know,) it’s 100% about the food. Ruin the food, ruin the holiday, and that’ll make me very unthankful thank you very much.
This used to be my must haves for Thanksgiving dinner: turkey (white meat only,) plain mashed potatoes, plain white bread stuffing (like Stove Top,) jellied cranberry sauce (in the shape of a can,) warm dinner rolls (with butter,) and pumpkin pie (with no whipped cream.) Oh, and gravy. If any of those things were missing or recipes altered, I was disappointed. But as I grew up and away from my family, I had more and more holidays at other people’s homes and found that others have other traditions and must-haves. I remember one friend’s house where the mashed potatoes were ruined by them leaving the skins on and in the potatoes. Don’t make me chew mashed potatoes!
Curveballs like skin-on mashed potatoes or chunks of apple in my stuffing would really get me down. Now that I live in the southern United States, all that is served here is cornbread stuffing. Save the cornbread for chili; I don’t want gritty stuffing! But the more I came to love my friends and my neighbors, the more I was willing to listen to their traditions and participate with them. And I also found one universal offering at the table that would fix not-quite-right fixings:
Yes, gravy covers a multitude of culinary sins! Something too dry, gritty, or chewy? Gravy! Gravy allowed me to enjoy other people’s favorite preparations without external or internal grumbling. Gravy allowed me to be hospitable to those trying to show me hospitality. And that’s how God’s love is like to us; it’s grace like gravy. It’s a kind of grace that takes someone not great like me and makes me palatable and loved by a holy God! When we are thankful for that kind of love and grace from our Heavenly Father, that propels us to cover others in the same kind of grace.
Questions to ponder
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? What’s your least favorite you’ve had?
What is a situation or who is a person in your life where you’ve received love and grace in spite of your mistakes?
We talk a lot about being hospitable; have you ever considered how hospitality can be shown back to the person trying to make you at home? How does that communicate a life of thankfulness?