The Reason We Gather
For some people decorating the table can be even more painful than preparing a meal for the masses. That’s OK. Keep in mind a stunning centerpiece and intricate place settings are impressive, but they shouldn’t take priority over your own peace and joy. The reason Christians gather is to celebrate God’s ultimate sacrifice and gift to us—His only Son, Jesus Christ. We celebrate the birth and death of Jesus and God’s amazing love. Through a holiday gathering, our family and friends share in fellowship, testify of His grace through words and example, and edify the body of Christ. So design the table and bake to your heart’s content, if you desire, or do something less involved if you don’t. Either way, keep the day focused on God and everyone will leave well fed.
Everything In Its Time
Let’s face it: Hosting a big holiday meal demands a servant’s heart and a king’s budget. And for some of us, even having Henry the Eighth’s dining hall, a few dozen extra chairs and a staff of kitchen help would mean we might not get our makeup on before the first person arrives.
Hosting can be selfless but rewarding work. We know good and worthy things come from gathering our families and friends for a time of peaceful, Christ-centered fellowship and fun.
How do you bring it all together so the special day isn’t filled with stress? Start a couple weeks ahead of time and form a plan. Keep lists and a daily check-off schedule to divide and conquer tasks. Do as much in advance as possible, use conveniences (make-ahead recipes, premade or catered grocery store foods, disposable baking or serveware, etc.) and ask for help.
Remember The Stranger
Jesus often used meals to share his message. His example showed hospitality to the financially and spiritually poor. So invite people in need, along with family and friends, to your gathering. The Bible advises, “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Romans 15:7 ESV), and “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” Hebrews 13:1–2.
Be gracious and openhearted, and let everyone who comes to your table see His unconditional love through your actions and words. 1 Peter 4:9 tells us, “Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” So instead of complaining when you must get up early to put the turkey in the oven, offer your labor as a sacrifice to God and praise Him for the opportunity to bless others.
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