There's something about setting the table when you're expecting guests for a special occasion. The anticipation of a wonderful time spent with friends and family, good food, and the joy that comes with conversations that stimulate the mind and heart. We want everything to be perfect.
Many of us are experiencing this anticipation right now as Thanksgiving is only a couple days away.
Over the years I have set many a beautiful table, complete with lace tablecloths, plate chargers, matching dishes, shining silver utensils and flowers and candles to brighten and warm the feast soon to be gathered around.
But this year, as I reached into the cupboards, I realized that what I had were several pieces from various dish sets that were no longer complete. A few dishes, utensils or glasses from this set, a few from here, a few from there...and even some of those were chipped or scratched. No set by itself could fulfill the needed place settings, but combined, it would be more than enough.
I began to muse at how reflective this was of life. We start out with the hopes of the perfect life, everything in its place, organized, coordinated and without blemish. It is indeed a vision of beauty. Yet, things break, go missing, walk away. Sometimes we take hits that leave scars and the memories of pains that were never wanted or expected. What we're left with is an amazing amount of variety, flexibility to create, and the opportunity to pick up the pieces, delicately placing them in such a way to display the endurance and strength that showcases the character created out of the loss. For me, there is such joy and comfort in this type of beauty.
...and isn't each precious life around the table the same? My hope for you, your family, and your friends this Thanksgiving is that you'll be able to look around the table and see the beauty in each life. That you can celebrate the trials that created the unique and varied faces that join you, that your conversations are full of hope and comfort knowing you have each other to complete the table. But above all, I pray that you know the love of God, his everlasting mercy, and the joy that comes with allowing him to take our imperfection and make it something beautiful!