It is that time of year again. Thanksgiving is upon us and so the rush has begun. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy getting together with family and friends and feasting till we burst. Yet there is all the preparation that goes behind the meal and the stress that it causes.
Some of my most memorable family fights seem to be connected with the holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas were often times punctuated by a major blowout. I remember one year when my mother threw a fully decorated Christmas tree out into the front yard because it would not stand upright in the tree stand. (Those old red ones)
Yet even with the difficulties, all was forgotten as we sat around the table for dinner. We laugh, bicker, joke around, tell stories, and ask forgiveness for our short tempers. At the table all is reconciled and all is well.
I’m thankful for the family table, the imagery of the table feast on a holiday. It is the perfect picture of Christian community and fellowship. Just like our families, we all may not agree or see eye-to-eye. Yet we share a common table. Like a family at a holiday meal, we are bound together by love regardless of the petty bickering or disappointments we have in each other.
Love is a commitment and not a feeling we become enthralled in. It supercedes the hardships of life. On the holidays our table fellowship becomes a symbol of the commitment to one another. We are a family either through blood, marriage or more recently choice.
Unfortunately, many families are fragmented and broken. The separation from those we love is symbolized by our excommunication from the family table on a holiday. At this time of the year the loneliness and pain of that separation brings many to a suicidal depression. I have divorced friends who hate the holidays because it reminds them of what they have lost.
I can understand this from the other side as I grew up in a single parent household. While our holiday times were good, at times it felt like there was something missing. It would take me years and lots of healing to realize that I missed having a “Dad” at the table. Even though my father had re-married, I'm sure he also felt like something was missing at times.
Fractured families, fractured lives, fractured churches. I’m thankful that I have a heavenly Dad who is always there. Rather than pontificate on God, The Table, and family. I’ll post on them another time and wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.