Room For You
The holidays, beginning in earnest this week, are a notorious time for overcrowding and isolating. While media and marketing (not the least of which the church's) announce this is a time of togetherness and family, very little is said of what all this focus on togetherness costs us. For many of us family is a reminder of how crowded the table is (does anyone really notice if I'm here at all?) or empty it is... for hundreds of thousands the holidays are seasons of literallty or figuratively dining alone.
Whatever type of holiday your tomorrow will bring, my prayer for you is to remember that no group, no family, no clan determines whether there is room for you. Maybe you'll sit around a raucous table full of laughter and stories. Maybe it will be a memory for the ages. Even still, that experience does nothing to define your true home. It is a gift to be cherished while it lasts, and to be released when it ends. Like all gifts of this life, it will be beautiful and temporal. Maybe you'll sit at a table where you feel crowded out by the strength of other personalities or isolated by the lack of diners with which to share a meal. This, too, is to be felt as it is as real as the air you breath. Loneliness may well be the true cancer of the age, harming us in ways that no cellular mutation could. But it too is temporal and doesn't define you.
This holiday, I hope you will remember the timeless table at which you are a permanent diner. This table, the table of His Body broken and His Blood spilt, opens up the eternal and infinite doors of God. Here in the Trinitarian family, your life is hidden with Christ, the source of any earthly love you've felt and the consolation for any isolation you've ever known. One of the great challenges of human life is to embrace with hope the goodness that comes to us while simultaneously releasing it with gratitude when it's gone. We can only do this when we know where our unchanging home is. It is in that quiet place where the Spirit permeates your deepest heart, that moment of solace when you see the face of your Savior Jesus pouring out the infinite meal of His embrace, that firm foundation where you are your true and complex self fully embraced by your Father.
Here, here, here... you sit at the timeless feast of saints and sinners, contemplatives and activists, loyalists and betrayers. None can take your place and your full presence crowds out no one. Here you are with us and we are with you and we are all home. This is the world that is wide enough.
I am endlessly grateful for you. There is room for you.