Thanksgiving in July?


By Linda Porter Carlyle


MacKenzie Isabelle Evans waved her hand in the air. “Do we get to decorate and everything?” she asked excitedly.

“Sure!” Pastor Chuck answered. “That’s part of the job. And,” he grinned, “we get to clean up afterwards.”

Loud moans and groans filled the Sabbath School classroom.

“It won’t be bad if we all help,” Mac put in quickly. “I’ve helped my mom clean up after potlucks before. All the ladies who bring food take home their bowls and stuff and we eat on paper plates that just get thrown away. We really only have to wash the silverware. And maybe we can use plastic spoons and forks so we don’t even have to do that!” she added hopefully.

Hannah raised her hand. “Can we do something special? I mean, since our class is in charge of the potluck, could we do something so people would think it was extra special?”

“That’s a good idea,” Pastor Chuck said. “Do you have something special in mind?”

“No,” Hannah admitted. “But I think our potluck should be different than an ordinary potluck though.”

“I’ve got some of those pop-its left over from the Fourth of July,” Trevor whispered to Joseph. “We could tape them under the legs of some of the chairs, and they would explode when people sat down. That would make our potluck special!”

Joseph gave a hoot of laughter.

“Does somebody back there have an idea he wants to share with the whole class?” Pastor Chuck asked, eyeing Trevor.

Trevor bit his lip, looked at the floor, and shook his head.

“OK,” Pastor Chuck said severely. “Let’s make some serious plans.”

The room was quiet as everybody thought.

Mac’s hand shot up again. “I think we should have a celebration potluck!”

“What do you want to celebrate?” Pastor Chuck asked.

Mac’s red curls danced as she shook her head. “I don’t know. But we could find something to celebrate!”

“We could celebrate my birthday, but it’s the wrong month!” Trevor muttered under his breath.

Joseph tried not to laugh this time. He held his breath, and his cheeks puffed out and turned red.

“What was that, Trevor?” Pastor Chuck answered. “What did you say?”

“I said we could celebrate my birthday, but it’s the wrong month,” Trevor repeated softly.

Everybody laughed.

“I know! We could have a giant birthday party for everybody!” Robert suggested. “With presents!”

“You guys are just full of great ideas today,” Pastor Chuck commented dryly.

“Wait a minute! Wait a minute!” Mac sputtered. “I do have a good idea! We could have a Thanksgiving celebration. We could have a Thanksgiving in July!”

“That sounds memorable,” Pastor Chuck said. “If we have Thanksgiving though, we’ll have to have pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie is my favorite!”

Mac bounced in her chair. “While we eat people could take turns and stand up and tell about something special Jesus has done for them that they’re thankful for. We did that once when we had company over for dinner at my house. It was really fun! I heard some really interesting stories!” she said. “Did you know Dr. Harris almost got killed in the war? He pushed back his hair and showed us the scar where a bullet just skidded along his skull! If it had gone just a teensy bit more to the left, the bullet would have gone right into his head! And he’d be dead!”

The boys looked definitely interested. “Maybe he’ll show us too!” Joseph said hopefully. “We could ask him to tell that story at the potluck.”

“I think you’ve come up with an excellent idea, Mac!” Pastor Chuck said. “How do the rest of you guys feel? Would you like our potluck to be a special Thanksgiving dinner in July?”

Everybody nodded.

“Can we have mashed potatoes and gravy?” Robert asked. “We always have mashed potatoes and gravy at Thanksgiving.”

“And dressing!” Joseph exclaimed, remembering his own mom’s Thanksgiving menu.

Pastor Chuck laughed. “Well, potluck means it’s just up to luck what comes in the pot. But we could tell the church members this morning that our potluck will have a Thanksgiving theme. And maybe suggest that they bring some traditional Thanksgiving foods. Especially pumpkin pie!” he added.

“We have pecan pie at my house on Thanksgiving,” Trevor put in.

“Pecan pie sounds delicious!” Pastor Chuck replied. “I like that too! Maybe you could ask your mom to make one to bring.” He looked around the room. “We’ll also need to announce to the church members that they should be prepared to share with us something that they are thankful for.”

“It’ll be like a giant story time!” Mac exclaimed. “I love stories!”

“And it’s important for us all to share our stories,” Pastor Chuck said. “They encourage other people. And just hearing ourselves tell them again encourages us too.

“So,” he continued, “would anybody like to come up on the platform with me and help me make the announcement about our potluck?”

Half the class raised their hands.

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