We tend to go into the holidays with hopes of everyone getting along and having a nice time. We cross our fingers and hope no one brings up a touchy subject, steps on someone’s toes, or meddles where they shouldn’t.
I get it.
I’ve been at holiday gatherings gone wrong.
But, the truth is messy doesn’t necessarily mean bad.
A couple of years ago I was hosting Christmas Eve. We were sitting around the dining table, when, after maybe a glass too many of red wine, I urged my husband to talk to his mom. I knew it was going to be hard, but I also I knew good was on the other side of the unspoken words of his heart.
After their brief and awkward heart to heart, I, in my buzzed state of mind, declared, “That’s how we do Christmas Eve.”
I was glad we’d made space for merriment and messy. It felt complete and good and made me wish we as a people were more willing to get messy.
Matt, Hannah and I were sitting around the table after dinner one night last Summer. I was tempted to hurry from the table with my empty plate and move on with the evening. But, that’s when Hannah started opening up.
The three of us sat at the table for maybe another hour after we’d finished our fish tacos, asking questions, sharing our hearts, and diving into matters of politics and religion. Our hearts were lighter when we finally stood from the table.
Later that evening, I looked over at the bare table and was overcome with the realization I was looking at holy ground: a place where God’s people gathered together, relating to each other and to God.
Something I know for sure is relating to one another and to God sometimes means bearing witness to each other’s stories. Being there as we reckon with truth and work out our salvation. That’s not always pleasant, but it sure is a privilege.
So, this holiday season, as you gather around the table with your people know this: No matter what happens, you are standing on holy ground.
Wishing you all the blessings and gratitude of gathering together and bearing witness,