When I think about Christmas, one of the first things that comes to mind is the food. Whether it’s our Italian dinner on Christmas Eve or our brunch on Christmas morning, it all has a special place in my heart (and stomach).
Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year, primarily because it is spent with my extended, and slightly crazy, family. It’s the one time that all of my cousins are together, and can gather around the table and eat together.
The table is packed with 14 first-cousins, their spouses, and about a dozen of their own off-spring. It’s loud, it’s entertaining, and it brings a sense of belonging.
One of my favorite Bible stories comes from Luke 7 when a Pharisee invites Jesus into his home for a meal. Jesus enters the home, reclines at the table, and relaxes, when all of a sudden a woman bursts into the home.
Crying, the women begins to clean Jesus’ feet with an alabaster flask of ointment, her tears falling onto his feet.
Despite what traditions or social laws of that day said, Christ was able to welcome the women into the home, and make her feel welcome. He ignored the glares from the people in the room, and let the woman wash his feet.
When the Pharisees objected, Jesus rebuked them, telling them: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little,” (Luke 7:47).
He then turned to the woman, saying: “Your sins are forgiven…Your faith has saved you; go in peace,” (Luke 7:48-50).
Instead of telling the women to leave, he welcomed her.
Instead of making her feel out of place, he comforted her.
Are there people that you know that need a seat at your table?
This may mean that you literally invite new faces to join you at your table this Christmas, or it may be more figurative, meaning that you need to experience a heart change, where you start to value the souls and hearts of others more.
Whether you literally invite someone to celebrate the holidays with you, or you figuratively open your heart to someone new and different, use this season to remember the table that has already been set for all of us.
Ask yourself this Christmas season, is there someone you know that needs a seat at the table?
If the Lord that we love and follow has placed aside a seat for each and every person, then we should do the same thing for his creation.