Scattered on my kitchen table today is real personal mail delivered to our home this past December, including a rich variety of photographs and stories from friends. What treasures! Funny thing is – I know how easy it is to hastily skim right past these gifts in the fray of Christmas schedules. I remember the day a certain envelope arrived. I instantly recognized Allegra’s handwriting in the address. I love reading her letters because she always includes a list of the books she read in the past year. She’s a thinker with an insatiable appetite for knowledge and insight. But she and her husband Jerry are also lovers of people.
Here’s a snippet of their Christmas letter, the portion describing their “ordinary activities:”
“Every other Friday evening a young couple join Jerry and me here for dinner, every other Saturday evening we meet with friends for thought-provoking discussions, and every other Sunday evenings we eat dinner with four other couples from our church and talk, among other things, about that morning’s sermon.”
Hmm. Ordinary activities…. Ordinary days…..Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays…. Time….. Rhythm…..Food…..Conversation. In the midst of life’s adventures, disappointments & pain, they prioritize relationships around their table. Jerry and Allegra embody the Acts 2:46 DNA of the early church: “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and generous hearts.”
I first met Jerry and Allegra just days after our wedding as we pulled our little trailer (holding 7 fondue pots) through the southwest corner of Colorado on our way to Denver. They were long time friends of Roger’s family. And for this new bride their greeting matched the warmth of their white clapboard country house. It was our first experience of being welcomed for an overnight rest as a married couple. The next morning Jerry flipped pancakes. On that day 44 years ago it wasn’t just Bisquick and bacon I got a whiff of. I also caught the fragrance of their generous, authentic lives and I’ve never gotten over it.
Ordinary days. Ordinary practice. Eating a meal together…..with simplicity, intentionality and expectation. What if the people of God took this ordinary practice to heart? Welcome 2016! May it be a bountiful year of hospitality. Who knows—the table you share this year may be a story retold in 2060!