For many, the holidays mark a favorite time of year, when families come together to spend quality time, to exchange gifts and stories, recounting the ups and downs of the 12 months which have passed since the previous holiday season.
In addition to the bonds of fellowship which are tuned and strengthened during those special days and moments together, there always seems to be a common thread: Food.
Think back to all your most cherished gatherings with family and friends during times of holiday celebration. I imagine there is something connected with food that you recall, whether it be a grandmother’s specially baked pie, the special recipe that made Mom’s dressing for the holiday turkey the greatest ever concocted, or the way the mashed potatoes and gravy were so warm and delicious that they seemed to be heaven sent.
As I grow older, many of my own fondest memories of my family are connected to the enjoyment of meals together over Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It seems that each year we share or retell our fair share of family anecdotes that garner the same cacophonies of laughter, like the tale of a slippery greased turkey that my mother and sister tried to prep at 3 a.m. for cooking which refused to stay in its pan, or the story of the “Chocolate Bandit,” a legitimate thief that absconded a dessert straight from the refrigerator on Christmas Day, depriving our clan of decadent chocolate goodness.
Though those tales are somewhat humorous, we would do well to consider the significance of breaking bread together. Throughout history, God has shown that He can accomplish a lot of good in the lives of His people when they take their meals together.
Think of how often throughout the Bible a feast, a banquet, a breakfast, lunch or dinner serves as the setting for some profound lesson, as an opportunity to give thanks, as a celebration of an important work of God, or simply as the setting for his people to deepen and strengthen their camaraderie as a spiritual family.
From the festivals of Israel to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, common meals persistently reappear in the pages of Scripture as God’s way of doing something important and advantageous for His children. Sharing meals wasn’t just a routine part of the church’s formal gatherings in the first-century, but Acts 2:46 tells us it was also their common practice to regularly gather together to share meals, that “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
Often the encouragement, comfort, joy, thanksgiving and mutual support we need as Christians in the 21st century is deficient because we neglect this simple, yet effective means of connecting and relating.
This week, as you start to consider the particulars for this year’s Christmas or holiday meals in the coming days, take time to make a couple of calls or send a couple of emails to see if you can’t enjoy a few of those meals with some fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It may just be the context God uses to do something good and important in your life.