A story of a feast with friends recently touched my heart. It caused me to reflect on how I could also craft a celebration feast for my own family that would be long remembered. The story invited my own heart into the story for a sense of celebration of those who loved each other.
And so the story goes…
Candle light sparkled, herbs and aromas of baked bread, the fragrance of tart wine wafted through the room as the hungry guests piled into the home for a night amongst friends. Each detail had been carefully planned.
The purple and rose sunset peaked through the windows as all settled into the chairs, happy to put the burdens of the day away and to invite the gracious hospitality into the dark of their day, to settle its moments finally with rest and peace.
The host had planned every last detail to delight his beloved guests. The hum of chatter and laughter filled the room. Each person was greeted warmly, personally by the host and felt attended to as though he was the only guest invited. A squeeze of the hand, a hug of welcome, intentionally focusing on the eyes of each friend, to give them the grace of welcome.
Much to their surprise, each person was served individually by the host while the servers sat away in the shadowy corners of the room. It was as though the host wanted each one present to understand how precious his friendship was with them, how valued they were to him, and how much he wanted them to remember this evening.
Finally, when most had filled their hunger enough to enter into conversation, familiar amongst close friends, the host began to speak to them of the issues of life that caused their hearts to burn with feeling. It was obvious he had prepared his thoughts, he had intentionally guided the conversation to those thoughts each one needed to hear. Love was spoken out-loud. Encouragement was poured out generously, promise of forever fellowship soothed the deep places of their hearts that needed to know they were not invisible. Indeed this was a night not to be soon forgotten.
You might have guessed—the host was Jesus. The meal of celebration was the Passover, where he would pass on messages that would live through eternity.
The setting was a meal, like our own meals, shared together amongst the best of friends.
And so, Jesus, the one who made the world, also crafted a dinner that would burn brightly in the memories of his disciples forever. This, the Passover meal, when I was reading about it again, helped me to reflect on the graces that our creator provided for his beloved at their holiday celebration as a model for me in my own holiday meals with my beloved ones this year.
He prepared for them ahead of time.
He planned the meal and provided all that they needed to be fed.
He touched them, knelt and served each one, humbly, gently, thinking of how He could meet their needs.
His servant heart opened their hearts to the words He would share.
Because of Him bowing His knee, and focusing His love, the heart of each disciple was open to listen, to really listen to the messages He most wanted them to remember.
He had prepared his messages in such a way that He guided the conversation to their very lessons and messages He wanted them to know when He would be gone.
And so, as I enter into our own Thanksgiving feast, I have a model from Him who used such a setting to give words of life. A servant’s heart, messages of life, love freely given.
May you know His life, His love, His servant heart as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your own family this year—and may you incarnate His Spirit to your own loved ones.
Sally, I Take Joy