Back To The Table
I love fall! For me, there is an energy and excitement that only comes during this time of year. Perhaps it is all the PSL (pumpkin spice lattes) I drink during this season. I mean I only have till December 1 to enjoy this life-giving beverage. Don't judge me; I know I sound like a college girl talking about her new found love. My goodness, I feel like every day I try to come up with some excuse to tell my wife why I need to stop by and pick one up. Right now I'm thinking, "Man I had a rough go at writing that First Word for the magazine, I really could use a PSL!"
Anyways, what I truly love about this time of year is Thanksgiving and what it has the power to do. I see Thanksgiving as an opportunity to bring people back to the table and to be reminded that our differences are not greater than our bonds. Whether its political, relational, racial, or spiritual, let us work at finding that common ground with our family, neighbors, and friends. This Thanksgiving season let us intentionally invite people that for too long we have cast to the side and bring them back to the table and remind them that God is FOR you.
For those of us without any fresh or painful holes in our lives, the coming holidays are a time of turning inward to celebrate past and present, people, and the material bounty around us. However, for anyone experiencing loss or scarcity, the holiday season can agitate those gaps. As Thanksgiving approaches, I encourage you to be especially aware of the needs of the people on the fringes of your life and our community.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Check in with the teachers you know. Do they have any students in need of a coat as the temperature drops? School supplies as the early donations run dry?
2. Remember that person you work with who doesn't go to church? Or the one you see and always get the impression that they might be a little lonely? Maybe you've invited them to church, and they can't make it, but you are and can be the church to them. Get over the insecurities you have about your home, your inadequacies, and reach out with compassion and courage to invite them into your life.
3. Reflect on the absences brought by 2018: deployment, divorce, death. Those things make the holidays HURT. Reach out with a hot meal or gift card (if you aren't culinarily inclined), offer to pay a babysitter so a solo parent can get some Christmas shopping done, or just send a note of encouragement. And PRAY that God's presence would fill the holes of those absences.
Remember that being #ForStarkville is about intentional actions to break down the walls we allow to go up around us so that the church can be bigger than you, bigger than me. It is about building relationships with our neighbors so that they can know that God is for them, not against them. Will you live that way this holiday season?