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The Birthday Boy who Served Thanksgiving Dinner

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Your birthday is your day to be selfish. Eat your favorite breakfast on the couch with your purring cat on your lap, no chores, your favorite activities, and everyone serves you what you want the way you want it, right? jd and parfait

At least…that’s what I’ve always thought.

To celebrate my oldest son’s 12th birthday, he and his cool friends were planning to go rock-climbing. After a breakfast of cinnamon rolls and yogurt parfaits, they were about to load up and head out.

And that was when my husband, Brian, made the announcement, “You know, today is Morningstar’s Thanksgiving Dinner.”

My son looked at his dad.  He knew exactly what his Outreach Pastor-father was thinking and answered honestly, “Yeah, I think I just want to go rock-climbing.”

Brian replied, “Okay, that’s cool. It’s your birthday, bud. Whatever you want to do is fine.” And he was being honest.

For the past few years, our family has helped to serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless through Morningstar Baptist Church in downtown Nashville.

I couldn’t blame my son for wanting to go rock-climbing instead. If it were my birthday, I would want to put my feet up, read a good book and drink peppermint hot chocolate. Not drive downtown and stand in a loud, crowded room, wearing plastic gloves to spoon green bean casserole onto waiting trays.

He was tying his shoes. But then he stopped.   He looked up at his dad. “Actually, now that I think about it, everyone makes their birthdays all about themselves. I think I want to go serve some other people on my birthday.”


I checked the back of his shirt to see if he had sprouted wings. Where did this kid come from?

He told his cool friends, “Guys, we’ll go rock-climbing later today, but right now we’re gonna go downtown and help serve Thanksgiving dinner.”

And they did.

This Thanksgiving, as we are reminded of all God’s blessings, let’s turn around and bless others by serving them.

Who knows?  Serving others just might make our happy birthdays a little happier and our Thanksgivings a little more thankful.

But then…I’m guessing one 12-year old already knew that.

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