“Keep Your Fork,” Christmas Reflection

indexGod sent His Son, His only Son to bring the world redemption through love, mercy, and hope. We acknowledge and honor that great event once again. God did a pretty good job, don’t you think? Jesus did a pretty good job of it, don’t you think? Jesus had but one chance. With Jesus living within us through our baptism, can we do anything less with our one chance?

The evening dinner table is a beautiful display, all at once, of all the food groups facing you, filling nostrils with glorious scents and mouths beginning to water for that first taste. The table is set, and everyone is seated except the oldest who seems to appreciate the bathroom more than the rest of us. I think to myself, it’s okay, it’s a party. We’re in no hurry for it to end. Savor the moment.

When sitting down, I wonder to myself, “When was the last time I had a linen napkin in someone’s home?” If I had this party, I’d have to buy a bunch of them for a group this size. The dishes look as elegant as the napkins, but I’m too shy to turn the plate over to see who’s responsible for creating this fine china. I resign myself to “go with the flow,” as they say and just enjoy the evening as it unfolds. I see lots of spoons in bowls and on platters…but I also surprisingly notice that I have only one fork.

“Ummm. I guess I better take care of this one fork,” I think to myself.

“Family style” is what they call this as you pass dishes to each other amid loud conversations and feeling as though you’re reenacting a scene from “The Waltons.” I see one person holding the bowl making it easier for the older woman who just can’t seem to get that bean she wants onto her plate. Another courteously refrains from the portion he truly desired so that the last person can enjoy some as well.
A perfect meal with delicious tastes at each round. Afterward, the dishes are carefully picked up, and the hostess alerts us to “keep your fork.”

I’m dumbfounded. I think to myself, “That explains the expensive dishes and napkins.” “She couldn’t afford enough forks for us. Poor thing. Surely there must be another set of forks lying around that she could extend to us.” I stare at my one fork, and I’m glad that it’s not as dirty as it could have been. I’m also wondering if I should take the fork home as a souvenir of my “one-forked” evening. I assume she’d miss it since we needed to keep the one already in our possession. She probably counted them all before we arrived.

I play with my one-fork during the lull while I see others moving theirs around as they talk and laugh. We’re all waiting for our one fork’s final use. Something was mentioned about dessert, but the youngest among us dismiss the notion.

There are many courses of food during life. Some include academic lessons that we work through to get to life’s next course but the best and most valuable lessons of life are life-lived. All of it provides food – food for the body, mind, and spirit. But, and please trust me on this, we only get one, single life – one fork.

The most important part of meal is the digestion – a time for simmering and letting rest what has been taken in. We digest a lot about our relationships – good or bad- and about ourselves – good or indifferent – all done daily during this beautiful banquet we call life. Technology today bombards us with a wide array of food groups for us to choose from. Without digestion, especially of the spiritual kind, it just sits in your tummy, and you repeat to others your stomach’s message only without first digesting information and opinions through the heart and mind of Jesus Christ and our beautiful Christian faith.

Through all of life’s entire largess and bountifulness, we keep our fork. We often think there’s another fork waiting for us if we only do “this or that” or if we only think “that or this.” (After all, there are how many forks in the road? I couldn’t resist.) However, there is only the one fork that we think we possess but is totally on loan from our Creator, God whose Son earned it for each of us. So, please hold and cherish it dearly. And, hold your fork for what?

We need it for dessert.

Books by Fr. Joe Jagodensky, SDS. All available on Amazon.com
“Soulful Muse,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
Living Faith’s Mysteries,”
inspirational reflections on the Christian seasons
of Advent/Christmas & Lent/Easter – a great seasonal gift
“Spiritual Wonderings and Wanderings,”
inspirational reflections on the Catholic Church and U.S. culture
“Letters From My Cats,”
a collection of letters written by my cats over twenty years
“Bowling Through Life’s Stages with a Christian perspective,”
Bowling as a metaphor for religion and growing up

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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