Once upon a time there was a family. Maybe this family had not quite enough to eat. Or maybe they had just about enough. Or … perhaps they had MORE than enough.
You might not have been able to tell. THEY might not have been able to tell. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have enough or not. It’s hard not to want more or different things than you have.
In any case, this family came together one autumn day for a celebration. A feast. A time of gratitude.
They gathered, as we have done, around a table. There was food. There was drink. There were flowers to remind them of beauty.
And then there was a call from the gate outside their door.
“Hello! We’re hungry and thirsty and we see you have a feast. May we come in?”
Well, the family didn’t know at first how to answer.
Who were these people at the gate? Was it safe to let these people in? Did they have enough to share? Was there room?
But they remembered.
They remembered that most of them had come to this family, to this celebration, from someplace else.
They remembered that even they, who were there at that table, had not always been kind to each other. There had been times when they hurt each other. There were still times when they made each other sad or angry or afraid. There is no way to make life completely safe.
They remembered times when others had shared with them, even when the others might not have had quite enough of their own.
They remembered when each new member of the family had been born, or come to stay, or married in. They remembered that they had always found a way to make room.
And they remembered an old, old saying: when you have more than you need, it is better to build a longer table than to build a higher fence.
We have enough, they said. We might have more than enough. We are many, and strong, and we can hold a safe space here in our home for all who come.
And so they went out of their door and to the gate in the fence. They opened the gate. They invited the people who were there in. Inside, they pulled out another table and made the space for these newcomers. They covered it with a cloth. And the newcomers set upon it a dish full of something fragrant and delicious which was strange and wonderful to the family. Everybody shared. And there was enough.
I want us to notice that we only heard one part of that story. We heard the story of the people who were in the family in the house, ready to feast. We didn’t hear the story of the people at the gate, wanting to come in. We don’t know who they are or why they are there or what they bring to the table other than the strange and wonderful food! So when you hear other stories this Thanksgiving season, I want you to think about whose stories they are. And whose stories they aren’t. And what those other stories might have been.