There’s a deep significance in sharing a meal together on Christmas day.
Excitement builds the night before as we tuck ourselves into bed, having just watched Love Actually for the third time this month, snuggled in our Christmas pyjamas, ready to wake early and enjoy the day to come. We rise in search of the stocking filled with small goodies, just a taste of what’s in store. A chocolate breakfast is gorged and we head down to church to sing God’s praises. Jesus is born, and we are saved. It’s time to celebrate.
We gather round the tree unwrapping gifts from one another, the smell of a roast filling our home. And then the meal. A succulent turkey, crispy, fluffy potatoes, glowing amongst the yorkshires and vegetables, gravy embracing each part, filling the plate with warmth and yumminess. It sounds like something out of a Marks and Spencers advert, so corny and mouthwatering; it’s not difficult to see why this is my favourite part of the day. Yet, as wonderful as all of that is, it’s not the food that makes this part special.
So much of Christmas is shrouded in consumerism and we forget to take moments to just be with one another, the new iPad takes over, or the latest game has to be played, but I truly believe that we can come together around the dinner table. The toys are away, we are surrounded by those we love, and filling up on as much food as we can. My family spends a good few hours sitting with one another, sharing in wine, cracker jokes, and games. There’s always so much laughter and a real sense of celebration. This is how we should spend our time, but too often we are caught up under societal pressures and succumb to the calling of social media, to the image of ‘how we are supposed to be’, so wrapped up in ourselves we forget those around us.
The gospel often talks about the meals Jesus shared and I believe there’s something deeply significant in that. It’s a time when he brought people together, often from different backgrounds, different beliefs, but with the desire to share in a moment of joy. He shares his table with not only with friends and family, but with the outcasts of society, the tax-collectors, and sinners, they are equal around his table. So much has changed in the past 2000 years, some for the better, some not so much, but it comforts me to know that sharing a meal with one another is still such an important aspect of our lives.
This year I’ve volunteered to do the cooking, and it almost feels as if I’ll be feeding the 5,000 with the amount of guests we have coming, and I’m only related to three of them. Something that I have truly admired about my mum is her ability to welcome people into her home. Over the years we’ve had various people come and stay, for a few days, to several months, and so even though my immediate family is quite small, my ‘adopted’ family is constantly expanding, and I’m so excited to share this Christmas with some of them. I’m not sure how many of us there will be, (for potatoes’ sake it might be worth finding out) but I fully go by ‘the more, the merrier’, the people make Christmas what it is, the laughter, the noise, the friendship, and I want to see as many people I love as I can, while we celebrate the greatest day of the year.
After all it’s Christmas and “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around” (Love Actually)
Who are you inviting to the table this Christmas?
Image by Austin Kelmore via Flickr/Creative Commons