“I know Christmas is a special time for our family BUT…”
Reference: But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, (Luke 14:13 NIV)
Explore: In the lead up to Christmas my mother always has the same conversation with us, her three daughters.
It starts off with, “Now girls, I know Christmas is a special time for our family BUT…” The second part of this sentence is similar each year, but involves a different person each time.
There is either an elderly person mum knows whose family has gone away for Christmas and they have nowhere to go for Christmas lunch. Or a patient of hers who has just moved to the area and doesn’t know anyone.
No matter what the sob story may be, Mum will always end with “…and I was wondering whether you minded if I invited them along for Christmas lunch.”
After twenty years of this same conversation, I’m not sure why mum still bothers to ask! As teenagers it always seemed a bit weird to have strangers at our Christmas table. But now it’s a regular feature.
The only Christmas I can remember when we didn’t have random guests at our table was when Dad was in hospital having chemotherapy and we had our lunch in the hospital waiting room. And yet, even then, whenever a nurse or another patient’s relative that mum had met walked past, she still insisted they try something from our table.
Application: I have never asked my mother whether she does this because it says so here in this passage of Luke. My gut feel is that Mum does it because it’s her way of showing God’s love to those who are alone and often forgotten.
And let me tell you, it sounds more glamorous than it really is. We’ve had people around our table who didn’t smell the best, others who struggled to make conversation and those who talked over everyone else. But they all left feeling the love and acceptance of an open family, and that says more about the Christ in Christmas than any present that could be given.
Prayer: Lord, may my table always be open to those who are alone and forgotten. Amen.
How can you show love to those who are left behind?
This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.