Room at the Table

Dear Family of St John’sMy sister and I are responsible for Christmas table décor each year.  We love it! We start talking about colour schemes and design ideas as early as August.  Okay, sometimes a little earlier. Sometimes it’s on Christmas Day for the next Christmas.  We share Pinterest boards with each other and WhatsApp photos backwards and forwards.  However, we’re not always on the same wavelength.  I had to do a lot of deep breathing the year my sister thought Christmas Kitsch should be the theme.  There was even talk of flamingos! She might have abandoned that idea because of the horrified look on my face.  Then again, the idea might very well have been suggested to see the horrified look on my face… I’m not too sure. We also have different opinions on the subject of glitter. She says yes, I say NO. She likes multi-coloured fairy lights, I only use white lights.  But, apart from that we tend to agree on most things.  Every now and then we’ll need to bring each other back to reality and remind ourselves that no one else really cares about the exact shade of red as much as we do.  And that the day won’t be ruined if we don’t find the same foliage that is in a specific image we’re referencing.  But, we love the process.As children we didn’t often spend Christmas together.  For a number of reasons my sister tended to be with my mom and the PE family for Christmas, while I was with my dad and his side of the family in the Free State for Christmas.  But both our grandmothers made a big deal of Christmas.  And so, we both love making the celebration special. We have traditions for decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, what the menu should be, and how things should be done.  We’ve combined the best of both our experiences.  One of the memories that stands out so clearly for me around the Christmas table, is that my gran’s table could grow.  It had ‘leaves’ that could be inserted depending on how big the table needed to be.  It could be a round table seating four, or grow into a long table seating many, many more. Christmas Day needed the table to be fully extended.  I would love a table like that! This Christmas we have 17 adults and 4 children confirmed so far.  There are also 4 dogs, but they don’t need a seat at the table! I love the slight chaos that goes along with having a house full of people, children and dogs running around.  You can hear the joy in laughter and conversation.  You can feel the love.This number could still be added to, it’s always a little fluid until the night before. So, when planning for décor and place settings, we need to accommodate for more people.  There are always extra Christmas crackers, extra place settings and more than enough food.And, I love that. Shouldn’t we always have room at the table for more people? Over the last six weeks we’ve been exploring the idea of being “Invited”.  What it means to be invited into a relationship with God, and what it means for us to invite others into that relationship.  If you have children, you don’t decide when child number 2 or 3 arrives that you don’t have room in your heart to love them.  God doesn’t say, “I already have a relationship with these 20 people, I don’t have room for more.  I have given out all the love I can give.”  Even reading that statement sounds ludicrous.  Rather, God tells those of us who already know and love Him, to go out to the ends of the earth and tell everyone we can find that He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them too. There’s always room for more love.  There’s always room to expand our circle, to invite others to join us. Love is something that has the wonderful ability to expand, it has to be shared.  We grow in our love as we share it with others.Over the last six weeks I’ve been challenging the congregation to consider who they would like to invite to a service this Sunday, 30th October.  Have you considered who you will bring? Or, perhaps you haven’t been to an in-person service for a while? Why not join us this Sunday?  There’s always room at the Lord’s Table.  There’s always room for more of God’s love. Come and experience it with us, at St John’s.  We’re making more coffee and setting out extra tables, we’re ready to welcome you. With loveYour friend and rector,Claire