The end of the year is often marked by a seemingly endless barrage of family gatherings, cookie swaps, white elephant gift exchanges, office parties and more.
The holidays cause some to stress out and wonder if they can fit everything in. Others experience profound sadness as they reflect on the loss of a loved one or other disappointments in life.
The holiday season can be a welcome time of intentional hospitality.
When considering how to love our neighbors and family this season, Jesus offers a way to engage the holidays with intentionality and grace. Here are three ways to enter the holidays with intentionality:
1. Broaden your reflection.
As you begin to shift your thoughts toward the birth of Jesus, add this verse to your reflection: ”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). Jesus said He’ll come to the table if you’ll let Him. Incarnation was always about recapturing simple, intimate communion.
2. Open your table.
There is a familiar saying around our house when it comes to supper: “There’s always room for one more.” And there is. But what takes that from a stated fact to a shared reality is an intentional invitation. When we open our tables to our neighbors, we are offering more than a meal. We are offering an invitation into communion.
3. Ask good questions.
Around a table, the art of conversation is fostered. Try to avoid questions that lead to one-word answers. Instead ask open-ended questions like, “What are some of your greatest memories of the holidays growing up?” or “What is most difficult for you during the holidays?” These questions, when engaged honestly, can connect people at a deep level. Take time to listen. Really listen.
Focusing on these three things this holiday season can create space for intimate communion with neighbors, family members or co-workers. And who knows, because they are at your table, you might find yourself in a conversation with someone wondering how they can find a seat at Jesus’ table.