Saturday, December 31, 2022


Olivia reveling in snow!


We had our annual Christmas caroling event for our family, a 20-year-old tradition that started with my nephew. This year we added Karaoke at the end of it...inspired by a different nephew and a niece revealing their mad vocal skills!  They were discovered, and the karaokeing began! I sang At this Table by Indina Menzel- sung here by Selah.  Better to hear them sing it than me, let me tell you! The first verse reflects my childhood family culture as I remember it, and how they shaped my love for God and for they have wrapped me up and spoken affirmation over my life and those who came into our home throughout the years. 

 It says:

At this table, everyone is welcomeAt this table, everyone is seenAt this table, everybody mattersNo one falls betweenAt this table, you can say whateverAt this table, you can speak your mindAt this table, everything's forgivenThere's enough for everyone
One young person in my family commented later, "it's not possible..." and a wise adult in her life (not me) said, "but it's the ideal." 
I was in a most delightful place (a thrift store) where bits of friendly conversations floated across isles of discarded treasures. One person, who happened to be in every isle I wanted to go down, made several remarks to other miners like myself that struck me as exceptionally insightful and caring. I smiled listening to her and thought , "I want to speak meaningfully in passing like that."  The moment came where we were cart to cart, rack to rack, and I made an offhand comment about Nigeria.

She stopped, looked at me, and started a different kind of rummaging, through the things of my heart.  I very soon found out that this lovely person, Maria, was not focused on wrapping Christmas gifts, but on!  And she bound me in layers and layers. She taped them with hugs, tears, and prayer.  I felt wholeness, and the warmth that heals a brokenness that I didn't even know was there.  God surprised me with his lavish, tender care through this sister.  She changed my life in those 10 minutes we spent together. I know it cost her something, her time and energy, emotion that could have been used on strengthening other areas or building closer to home...but she chose me...and in doing so, reminded me that God does too.  It's like she was singing the chorus of the song "At This Table."  It says:

So come as you areRemember that the door is always openYes, come as you areThe perfect gift that you could bring is your heartSo come, come as you are...
Pull up a chair. 
I love these words, they ARE my ideal, and when I think about Jesus, his ragamuffin lot that were thickheaded, with different political views, social standing, and professions, I think it's his too! He says "pull up a chair" to his people from Thailand to Morocco to Chile to Nigeria every single morning, and he says it because he wants to wrap them in his love.  I want to be like that too.  I want to do the hard thing, like Maria did, like Jesus did, to see, really see, and wrap, joyfully wrap others in this beautiful season  where we celebrate the one who came wrapped in clothes to a world wrapped in darkness so he could wrap them with love and light. 

Maybe I'll form a habit, and it will flow into the New Year!  Bob Goff says in his book Everybody Always, "Love isn't something we fall into; love is someone we become." 
Yes, Lord, do it in me! 

My little sister, Leah, is a wrapper extraordinaire. I've learned a lot from her.


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