At 3:30 am I woke up to put a turkey in the oven. By 6:30, the house began to smell like a typical Thanksgiving morning. As I sit here, waiting for the turkey to finish baking and the giblets to magically transform into gravy, so many thoughts are racing through my head.
Our Sunday School class at church is feeding about 100 people today. These are men and women who have just been released from prison and are trying to fit back into society. I had truly never thought much about the different aspects of what these men and women go through to begin life again. Just having read, “A Glimpse of Grace” by a lady in Dallas who was sent to prison for some happenings regarding dispensing meds from her pharmacy back in the 90’s and her transformation from the pride of having “it all” to a humble lady who was only known as a number; it really opened my eyes to the different emotional and spiritual needs of people who are now trying to live in a society that has changed since they lived in freedom. Some of them are the same, but some have been transformed into a person that doesn’t quite know how to live in a world where there are so many choices, as their choices have been made for them, while behind bars.
As I am sitting here recalling the memories of different Thanksgiving mornings, when, as a child, I awoke to the most amazing scents of pies and turkeys baking, rolls waiting to rise, and the sweet potatoes just waiting their turn in the oven, There are the memories of when it was now my turn to turn our home into a house filled with all the foods that turn that last Thursday of November into something magical. I began to wonder about the people we will be serving today. Do most of them have precious memories that would be brought back by the smells of Thanksgiving? Most of them probably don’t have the same memories that I have been so blessed to have. Probably some only have memories of different holidays on the streets, or homes where the atmosphere gave way to the smell of alcohol.
Part of the precious Thanksgiving memories, are the scents, and what they represented; security, love, friendships, God’s amazing love and grace to each of us. Most of the ones we will be serving today will probably not have experienced this. It is my prayer this morning that I will be able to somehow share God’s grace and love to the people that will be there today. That these prisoners will not only be set free from the prisons that have held them physically, but that they will find spiritual and emotional freedom that comes from turning their hearts and eyes toward the One who can truly “set them free”.
This Thanksgiving, as that first smell of turkey comes drifting out of the oven, let that scent remind you to thank God for what He has done in your life and lift up the people that may not have the blessing of sitting around the table sharing God’s love with family.