For the last forty two years, I have been in charge of cooking the Thanksgiving Day turkey. Janet does all the sides and the system has worked pretty well for us. Before I took over the duties of cooking the turkey, I learned the nuances of how to prepare for Thanksgiving from my mother – and her mother before her. In fact, as far back as I can remember – all the way back to when I was a very small child, I vividly remember all the preparations Mom and Grandma worked on the day before Thanksgiving. Ultimately, all those lessons were put to good use after my long apprenticeship – when I took over the annual preparation of the Thanksgiving Day turkey. And now, our son Andrew is apparently next in line to do the prep. He is in his third year of assisting me and probably has another 7 or so until his apprenticeship is complete. Aside from learning the tricks of the trade, it’s a great time for us to spend together – perpetuating a longstanding family tradition.
I have never found a better way to prepare the bird than the way that I was taught almost 5 decades ago. I still read about new ideas here and there, but I always return to the old ways I have been using forever. The secret is in how we prepare the day before Thanksgiving. I cook the celery and the onions, make the stuffing and then refrigerate it until Thanksgiving morning. We also clean the bird and go through a ritual to make sure that it will be moist and tender. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, the turkey will be set out and then final preparations will be completed in the morning before the cooking time starts sometime mid-morning.
The end result is the centerpiece of a great meal – well worth the effort expended in prep time the day before. By the way, that’s also the way it is with God. He expects us to spend time in preparation for our time with Him. Sometimes that is reading Scripture, or spending time in prayer or even writing in a journal preparing your mind and your heart for time with the Almighty. And just like in the case with the turkey, the preparation time is well worth the effort. It’s much more rewarding when you have done everything right in advance.
The verse for this evening speaks to the issue of preparation. We are told, by Paul himself, as he writes to his young friend Timothy, in 2 Tim. 4:2, “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” God wants us to prepare to lead people to Him by preaching the word – and that includes living a life emulating Jesus Himself. My encouragement this evening is that we were all created in the image of God; and that’s great news. My prayer is that you will do everything you can to always be prepared to spread the Good News of the Savior – whose birth we will celebrate within a month. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…