It’s November, so I guess that officially puts us in the “holiday season.” Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and there are only 43 shopping days left until Christmas! Although this is supposed to be a time of celebration, it seems that what I hear more often is how busy everyone is – parties, shopping, school activities, recitals, dinners, decorating… The list goes on. In my home, we have no shortage of those events, either.
But I want to challenge us all with something this holiday season: Are we focused on ourselves, or can we make room for others and invite them in? Into our homes, our celebrations, our lives.
This delightful painting by Pierre August Renoir is called Luncheon of the Boating Party. I have a rather large framed print hanging in my dining room. It was a housewarming gift to me many, many seasons ago from some dear friends when I graduated from seminary. Since that time, it has graced the wall in my dining room in seven different homes. It is one of the first pictures to be hung once we move into a new home. Why? Because it portrays the type of home I want to create.
Look closely – all kinds of folks are gathered together enjoying what I imagine to be delicious food and drink. From those most lavishly dressed to those most humbly attired, all are together talking and enjoying one another. I just feel happy when I look at this painting.
I want my table to be a place where folks of all types gather, where good food is savored, conversation enjoyed, and memories made. My home doesn’t need to be large; its walls need not be ornately decorated; the furniture does not need to pass a white-glove inspection. It just needs to be welcoming. My food doesn’t need to be fussed over for days. It just needs to be presented with affection.
As we enter into a time of celebrating all for which we are thankful and the birth of the One who gave us everything, who will be at your table? Look beyond those with whom you always gather; see those there that might be forgotten, for whom there is no boating party, no welcoming spread. Set a place for them at your table; invite them in; be the aroma of Christ to them. Then tell me about the joy that filled your home as a result.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares (Hebrews 13:2).