Last Minute Guest COULD Spoil Dinner – So could Hostess

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Last Minute Guest COULD Spoil Dinner – So could Hostess

The day was finally here. Days (not hours) of preparation had already taken place and now, it was about time to serve the holiday meal. I was excited to have exactly 12 adults – perfect….all could be seated at the dining room table. Each of my 12 place settings of china, crystal and silver were on display. I added a pretty centerpiece, name cards (with questions on the back to stimulate discussion) and everything sparkled. To add to the perfection…the 6 children would fit perfectly at our kitchen table for 6 – no wiggly card table like we “enjoyed” in the 60’s and 70’s – remember those? Yes, it was all adding up to be a picture perfect day with everything in order. Just as the oven buzzed to tell me the main course was done, the phone rang. The familiar voice asked if they could join our meal. The initial thoughts going my mind went something like this: WHAT!?! YOU WANT TO SHOW UP NOW??! HOW ABOUT COMING FOR DESSERT? HOW could I add a 13th place setting to the already perfectly spaced and wonderfully decorated table? How did you (so last minute) find yourself alone when you said weeks ago that you had plans…and everyone else politely provided their RSVP’s days ago – and, ON TIME!? It’s with sadness that I admit those thoughts we mine. I believe that God can speak to our hearts and I’m sure I heard Him speak to mine in that very moment, “You want this day to be so perfectly special, but you are on the road to spoil everything. If you want it to be perfect, you need to graciously accept this person’s last minute request to join you, turn your name card over at your place setting, and give up your seat at the table, put their name on it, and let them sit in your place. Serve everyone. You don’t have time to cut the meat, get the other dishes out of the oven, and rearrange everything. Someday there will be an empty chair around your table for 12, and you’ll wish you had someone to fill it. Enjoy that they wanted to join the family and serve everyone with joy.” How grateful I was to be listening, and to respond promptly and properly as buzzer and phone rang simultaneously! How grateful I was to serve! I never sat down. Later, as I reflected upon the day, I realized no one offered help or asked me to sit down; but I took that as a sweet compliment. A compliment because I had taken the focus off myself and put it on serving others. I had the choice. Thankfully, in that moment, I made the right one. The day turned out to be quite lovely, and if I might say so – perfect. Everyone had fun answering the questions, there was much laughter, and the food (and service) went well. I even lost, rather than gained, a few pounds! The next year – there was one empty chair, and in the following few years…very closely together, five empty chairs. I’m so thankful neither guest nor hostess spoiled that dinner.

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