Six years ago, I got drafted into cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. Yeah, that’s what I said, the turkey! No pressure, right? Holy cow! I was not ready for that kind of responsibility. C’mon, if you mess up the turkey, you have completely ruined the Thanksgiving meal. I don’t care how good your stuffing and gravy turn out. They just don’t have the star status to carry Thanksgiving like the turkey does. Ben Franklin wanted to make it the national bird, for crying out loud. Everything rides on the turkey. That meant the entire success of Thanksgiving 2005 depended on me.
A famous admiral once said, “There are no extraordinary men, just extraordinary circumstances that ordinary men are forced to deal with.” Yes, I rose to the extraordinary challenge that year and cooked what I humbly admit was a turkey so succulent and golden brown it would have brought a tear to Martha Stewart’s eye.
Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about applying to be one of the Butterball hotline people, you know, those folks who provide tech support for turkeys. I can just imagine talking desperate house husbands like myself down from the ledge. “Sir, put down the carving knife. I’m here to help.”
Just for fun, I once called the hotline to see if they knew as much about turkeys as I do. I can tell you that my turkey tech was absolutely amazing. She was like a Navy SEAL with a basting brush. Not only was she incredibly knowledgeable, but she also communicated with an empowering you-can-do-it tone of encouragement. By the time I hung up, she’d convinced me she could solve any problem.
It made me think that someone like that should start a different type of turkey hotline for Thanksgiving. As tough as it is to cook the bird, sometimes the human turkeys are what can make Thanksgiving a real challenge. So when your uncle Frank shows up a little tipsy and starts getting belligerent, quick, call the turkey hotline. They’ll know what to do. Or when your sister brings up something you did to hurt her feelings ten years ago, call the turkey hotline. How about when your mom harps on you about finally getting married and giving her some grandkids? Call the turkey hotline! They have all the answers.
Actually, what we really need is a hotline to keep us from acting like turkeys ourselves. The only thing is, we would need them to call us, to intervene before it’s too late. Just imagine, when you’re about to say something really insensitive to your cousin, your cell phone rings and a woman on the other end yells, “Stop! Cram some stuffing in your mouth and walk away.” Now, that kind of turkey hotline would come in really handy. With Thanksgiving so close, we probably don’t have time to pull that operation together, so we’re going to have to find another way to make sure the only turkeys in the room are on the table.
Fortunately for us God wants to walk with us through every moment of our day. He’s there to offer wisdom for how to deal with difficult people, and He wants to keep us from becoming difficult people ourselves. God can help us navigate the complex web of relationships and family history that everyone deals with this time of year. The Bible is full of great turkey hotline advice like, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2). But even better than that is the fact that God actually has the power to help us pull it off.
So this Thanksgiving if you’re facing a cooking crisis like I was, call Butterball. For your other turkey emergencies, call on God. He’s only a prayer away from helping you to have a holiday for which you can truly give thanks.