I love to host the people I care about. Food is one of my favorite ways to show love, and I firmly believe in the therapeutic power of breaking bread together. After all, Jesus commanded Peter, “Feed my sheep.” There are plenty of statistics on the benefits of sharing meals as a family. I am truly passionate about the significance of blessing others with food.
Yet, somehow, the idea of hosting Thanksgiving dinner terrifies me. We are the ones who live far away from the rest of our families, so we’ve always traveled for Thanksgiving and have never needed to host. Still, I have this nagging fear that someday it will be my turn, and that thought overwhelms me. I think it’s the complexity of balancing the preparation and the oven schedule.
This is ridiculous.
I balance oven schedules all the time. I serve multi-dish meals prepared almost entirely from scratch to a dozen guests (with abnormally large appetites) on a regular basis. And I do this with only about 1.5 square feet of counter space. Total.
Sometimes we question why we do it.
My husband will come home from a long day in the middle of a long week and groan that he wishes we could have a relaxing night at home without the extra guests. I’ll be frantically juggling five tasks at once and say, “Well, too late to cancel,” while thinking I would have liked to save myself all this work. We might even briefly discuss the option of not doing this again.
Then the team arrives.
They fill their plates [usually three times] and rave about the food [even though I accidentally skipped one of the primary ingredients] and look like they haven’t had a decent meal since the last time they were in our home. They put in requests for their favorite meals next time and offer hugs of gratitude before they leave. So, when they’re gone, we start planning that next time.
And if the “next time” takes a couple of weeks to come around, a player might ask, “Mrs. Coach Walk, can we have dinner at your house again soon? It’s been a long time.” I can never say no to that because it’s evidence that those evenings together are something they truly cherish.
We remember why this is worth sacrificing a quiet evening at home.