A table can give you more than what you might expect…

Harmony in Red, 1908 @Henri Matisse

Gift 1: Prepare

Preparation takes time, and time seems one of those things that I never have enough of. Preparing a Table is a great gift because it is true that I am at my best when I MAKE time to prepare. It is not so much a matter of having the time to prepare as it is of MAKING time to prepare! 

The word prepare embodies intentionality. 

Preparation takes time. Make space for that time, take care of your Christmas table, and your everyday table.  Small details reveal great love. 

Accept this first gift from your table: to PREPARE  for what is truly important in our life!

The dinner table @HenriMatisse, 1897. Private Collection

Gift 2: Await

The waiting, @CarloCarra 1926, oil on canvas

When the table is ready, you just need to wait for your guests. Waiting is not easy (quoting piggy and elephant)! Kids get excited, they go to the window, sometimes they even go outside and back ten times before finally sitting on the couch and that’s the time when the lights of a car arrive in the driveway. 

The happy await (l’attesa felice), @Casorati, 1918

It seems there is nothing to do while waiting, but is waiting an action?

I say yes! #Waiting is full of #meaning. And is the second gift that you can learn from your table! When we learn to wait well, we grow in the #virtue of #patience. In our world of instant access to every info and overflowing desire for instant gratification, we are losing our capacity to wait.

The grace of waiting, because for me it’s a grace, opens your heart to who is coming. It allows you to stay still, looking forward to someone that you may already know or not yet, that is entering your door, as a gift, to sit at the table with you.

I came to learn that waiting is often a time when God is actually doing something IN ME, while I am waiting for Him to do something OUT THERE.

I hope this  time you can enjoy the apparently empty time of waiting for a guest.

The table in front of a window, @Pablo Picasso, 1919

Gift 3: Receive

Abraham and the angels, @Bartolome Esteban Murillo (1617-1682, Spain)

The act of receiving people in your house is indeed a gift. When you open the door, you let them in not only in your house, but in your heart, in your life. Several years ago I read a book called “The miracle of Hospitality” and the first quote at the beginning stays with me since then: “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” [Hebrew, 13:2]

The gift of receiving allows us to grow in the capacity of recognizing that everyone is a gift for our life. When you sit in front of your guests you become something different, because you are making room in your life for another.  In the act of consciously receiving we become better persons. 

The more you open the door to others, the more this gift builds up your heart and personality, something greater than you could imagine. Such a great gift we are receiving from our Table!

Gift 4: Rejoice

The Luncheon, @Monet, Claude(1840-1926).

There is a book titled “Surprised by Joy”, written by the great C.S. Lewis. He says: “All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still ‘about to be’.”

Your table can bring to you the gift of Joy, and when it happens it’s a present that comes and will never leave. Though we will want more of it, it’s never a possession! 

Enjoy each and every moment of your lunch together, admire your guests, laugh with them and even cry with them if this is what they can bring to you in that moment. Joy and tears often walk together in my life. 

Thus, we want to invite more people to our house, we want to prepare, await, receive and then experience joy! 

I hope the Christmas table will bring Joy to you and all your family. 

Merry Christmas!

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