EVERYDAY ADVENTURES

Thanksgiving Helper

Photo credit: JeniFoto / Shutterstock.com

I almost got fired last Thanksgiving. Or killed. Or maybe both.

It was really my wife’s fault. She is an incredible cook, and at Thanksgiving, she goes all out. I cook the turkey, and she and my daughters make a ton of delicious side dishes and desserts for our family. It’s a great deal for me: one bird in exchange for a whole table full of food.

But last year Christy came down with a fever the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Her Covid test was negative, so we thought maybe it would just be a 24 hour thing. Soon we were hoping it was just a 48 hour thing. Or 72. Or, hey, we would even be happy with 96.

No such luck. A couple of days into it, we realized there was no way she would be doing any cooking. Then, as the week dragged on and her fever persisted, we came to terms with the fact we wouldn’t be going anywhere or seeing extended family this year. It would just be the four of us.

That was disappointing, to say the least, but my girls and I were determined to make the best of it. Unfortunately that meant all of the cooking would be up to us.

On the plus side, my daughters have learned a lot by hanging out with their mom in the kitchen.

On the downside, that meant my sixteen year old would have to put up with my holiday shenanigans. When I cook, I sing, dance, and make hilarious dad jokes at every opportunity.

What’s not to love?

For my thirteen year old, it was business as usual, but my older daughter would have none of it.

For her it was game on. As the oldest, she felt it was her responsibility to save Thanksgiving, and, after a few hours in the kitchen with me, she knew her job was not going to be easy.

She was focused. In the zone. For her it was game on. As the oldest, she felt it was her responsibility to save Thanksgiving, and, after a few hours in the kitchen with me, she knew her job was not going to be easy.

To make matters worse, our kitchen is tiny so we were competing for counter space, oven space and burners on the stove. From my daughter’s perspective, I was constantly underfoot.

On top of that, I kept trying to be helpful. For instance, when I saw she’d loaded up a mixing bowl with the ingredients for a homemade pie crust, I helped out by turning on the mixer. At high speed. Imagine a dough-filled tornado, chunks of crust flying in every direction and you get the picture.

But I think it was the apple pie itself that really did me in. After the mixer incident, my daughter spent forever finishing her homemade pie crust and shaping it into a work of art. It was picture perfect. Then, when she was trying to determine if it was done, I decided to be helpful again.

I just meant to poke a small hole in the top crust to see if it was bubbling. Instead, I gouged a massive crater in the pie, marring her flaky masterpiece with an ugly scar.

When I saw the look on her face, I started counting the kitchen knives just to make sure I wasn’t in any immediate danger. Then I did what any turkey would do on Thanksgiving. I ran for my life.

When I saw the look on her face, I started counting the kitchen knives just to make sure I wasn’t in any immediate danger. Then I did what any turkey would do on Thanksgiving. I ran for my life.

As you can see, I was a big help. The funny thing is I realized we’d come full circle. It wasn’t that long ago that she was the one “helping” in the kitchen, a preschooler making messes and covered in flour. Now here she was growing up, taking over and I was the one slowing things down.

That’s how it goes. We start out life dependent on our parents and wrap things up here on earth dependent on our kids or others to take care of us. There’s a small window in the middle when we’re the ones taking care of those around us, but it doesn’t last long.

The good news is there’s a God who loves us through each of those seasons. Whether we’re cooks or mess makers, caregivers or dependents, God invites us to draw near and depend on Him.

In fact, a Jesus follower named Paul said that God created the earth and all of humanity for this very purpose so we would “seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him. Though he is not far from any one of us” (Acts 17:27 NIV).

While our culture tends to celebrate productivity and possessions, God celebrates presence. He invites us to draw close to Him not because of what we can do for Him, but simply because we are His.

While our culture tends to celebrate productivity and possessions, God celebrates presence. He invites us to draw close to Him not because of what we can do for Him, but simply because we are His.

Fortunately my daughter feels the same way. She eventually let me back in the kitchen and generously shared the apple pie I’d almost ruined, a delicious reminder of God’s grace, which is more than enough reason to give thanks. •

Photo credit:  JeniFoto / shutterstock.com

Looking for more holiday devotionals from columnist Jason Byerly? Check out Holiday Road: A Christmas Devotional, available now on Amazon! Also included in this devotional series is Tales from the Leaf Pile, a fall themed devotional.

Jason Byerly is a writer, pastor, husband and dad who loves the quirky surprises God sends his way every day. You can read more from Jason in his books Tales from the Leaf Pile and Holiday Road. You can catch up with Jason on his blog at www.jasonbyerly.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: