Thanksgiving Grace

It was the first year Mackenzie was going to sit at the “grown-ups” table at Thanksgiving. She had aged out of the children’s table following the last round of babies born in the family and more space was needed at that table. As the oldest grandchild, she got to move to the dining table first. She was excited to sit with the adults—even though their conversation would probably be pretty dull. Anything would be better than trying to play peacemaker amongst her cousins all through the meal.

Mackenzie couldn’t wait until it was time for everyone to sit down together. This year there would be no need for fixing her plate early so she could sit with the other kids. Mackenzie could imagine it all. This year, she’d be passing the piping hot bowls of mashed potatoes, green beans, and corn, along with the enormous platter of turkey and dressing. The table would be filled with the family’s Thanksgiving favorites, along with a beautiful centerpiece, lit candles, and a beautifully set table—all on Nana’s treasured tablecloth that had belonged to her mother and grandmother before her.

Mackenzie could see it all. She could hear the laughter of her family, the clink of ice into the glasses for the sweet tea, the clatter of forks and knives on the plates, and the chatter from the children’s table. She could smell the aroma of the lit candles mixed with holiday treats.

When Thanksgiving Day finally came, Mackenzie was full of anticipation. She smiled with excitement as Nana asked her to fill the glasses with ice as the time for the meal got closer.

Finally the children’s plates were filled and everyone sat down at the adult table. Grandpa prayed and started the platter of turkey around the table. Mackenzie served her plate and smiled broadly as she looked around the table and took in the view from the adult table.

She spied the bread basket in front of her, and reached for a second roll. The table was so full, as she drew her hand back to her plate, she knocked over her tea glass. Tea spilled all over Nana’s treasured tablecloth. Silence suddenly filled the room—like everyone was holding their breath—waiting to see what Nana would do when she saw the spill.

Mackenzie was frozen. She didn’t know what to do. Her first time at the adult table and look what she’d done! She wanted to burst into tears but she just couldn’t. Mackenzie’s mom jumped up and ran to the kitchen for dish towels to clean up.

Mackenzie looked up long enough to catch Grandpa’s eye. With a little smile and a wink, Grandpa knocked over his tea glass, too. He tried to make it look like an accident. But he clearly did it on purpose. He smiled at Nana in the way only he can. She paused like she was going to say something but thought better of it. Then smiled at Mackenzie.

Momma brought the towels. The tea was cleaned up. And nothing was ever mentioned about it again. Mackenzie relaxed and enjoyed the rest of her meal. After the Thanksgiving meal, Mackenzie hugged Grandpa and whispered thank you in his ear. Grandpa looked at Mackenzie and said, “We all need grace, sometimes, sweetie.”

Who in your life needs grace this week? One of the students with whom you work? A family member? A coworker?

In the midst of being thankful for our blessings, let’s not forget the opportunity we have to offer grace to those around us. Giving grace and love to others is not limited to the seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Offer grace to another today. You’ll be glad you did.

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