Tonight is the evening before Thanksgiving and families across the country are making preparations for the festivities tomorrow. I spent most of the day down at the cafeteria and you should have seen the work going on there. In fact, barring some really unforeseen situation, we will have a huge day tomorrow. In fact, more than 3000 people will depend on Jonathan Byrd’s to feed them on this most important day. From school bands returning home to families coming together to dine in the spirit of the season, it takes all kinds of people to make the day a festive one.
Many employees of the cafeteria came in very early this morning, worked long shifts and made quantities of food almost impossible to comprehend. Hundreds of pies, gallons and gallons of gravy, enough mac and cheese to keep you satisfied forever and I can’t even tell you how many pounds of mashed potatoes. I left a little after 6:00 pm and all the cooks and bakery staff were still at it, still working hard to ensure a great experience tomorrow for our guests.
Many of our employees will have a short evening. Because they report back to work at 4:00 am to fire up the ovens and the stoves and prepare the front line for more than 1000 people who have made eating at Byrd’s a Thanksgiving day tradition. And that doesn’t include more than 1000 reservations for the buffet that we hold in the banquet facility. And… the events that will be catered off-site. All in all, it is a huge production and the coolers and freezers are packed to the gills tonight in eager anticipation of the morning.
But my night wasn’t over – when I got home, Andrew came by and we started on the preparations for our own holiday festivities. As you know from several days ago, this is my 40th year preparing the turkey and Andrew decided that it was time that he learned the tricks of the trade. So it was a wonderful surprise that he wanted to join in and help me this year. Now mind you, I have no desire or thought of turkey prep retirement, but it sure was nice to have someone to help me. Andrew got all jazzed and even posted a picture on Facebook. We made all the dressing and did the initial prep on the bird.
And, not unlike the people at the cafeteria, I have the alarm set for 3 am to take the turkey out of the fridge. Then, somewhere around 5, Andrew will arrive and we will stuff the bird, truss it up the way my grandparents used to and get it in the oven to cook. Normally, we eat around 5 pm or so and the turkey doesn’t need to go in so early, but this year we moved the time to noon. The kids all have different places to go in the afternoon and Janet and I will head to Byrd’s to participate in all that is going on down there.
So, it’s early to rise for many of us. The Bible had a similar situation, but it wasn’t exactly what God had in mind. As Moses went up to receive the 10 commandments from God, Aaron, the brother of Moses stayed with the people and they constructed a golden calf from the jewelry that was collected from those who waited for Moses. God was angered by the event, as they worshipped an idol that was inconsistent with God’s will for their lives. Of course, Moses was angry as well when he returned from his journey and saw these celebrations in direct violation of God’s command. That’s a great piece of advice for us.
It’s so easy to get off the track and forget about God in all the celebrations. As a warning to us all, the verse for tonight highlights what the people did that so angered Moses. We are told in Ex. 32:6, “So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry.”
My encouragement this evening is to make sure that God is in the center of the celebrations tomorrow. After all, it is a day of THANKSGIVING and God is the source of those blessings. My prayer is that you will offer a prayer that recognizes the importance of God in our lives and acknowledges the love that He has for us. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…