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Sunday, December 9, 2007

At the Family Table

Because I was born late into my family, my earliest memories have always included my three sisters-in-law. So by the time my parents, my brothers and their wives occupied our holiday table, I was necessarily placed at the dreaded “kid table.”

I never liked this arrangement. At eight years old, I definitely had a lot of sparkling conversation to bring to the table. Alas, no adult ever gave up his seat so that the eight-year-old brat could sit at the grown-up table.

No matter how old we all grew, I remained youngest until my nephews came along, and then at least I had company at the kid table, even if they all spoke Elmer Fudd language.

The day finally came when as a newlywed, I returned home for the holidays. I can’t remember if I finally made the cut for the big table or not. But the following year, I had a two-month-old, and guess what—it was back to the kid table for me. And there I remained with all three of my children as they grew up, year after year.

Remembering the kid table recently inspired me: when my kids and grandkids come home for the holidays, just once, I’m going to turn the world on its ear and reserve places for the smallest people at the elusive grown-up table.

On a larger scale, society also has its rules about who belongs and ranks and who doesn’t. But just because humans have established pecking orders (caste systems, hierarchies of power, designations of respect) doesn’t mean they reflect the Lord’s standards at all. In fact, we position those with money and power at the head of the table, while others are relegated to back entries, wobbly stools and leftovers.

But Jesus, as surely as he tipped over the money-changers tables in the temple, flipped the status quo concerning who is first and who is last in his order. He washed dirty feet to show us how to be great in his kingdom. He forewarned us about pride and exclusivity.

In Luke 22:26-27 Jesus said to his disciples: "Kings like to throw their weight around and people in authority like to give themselves fancy titles. It's not going to be that way with you. Let the senior among you become like the junior; let the leader act the part of the servant. Who would you rather be: the one who eats the dinner or the one who serves the dinner? You'd rather eat and be served, right? But I've taken my place among you as the one who serves” (MSG).

And so we know how to live as his disciples--offering what we have to those who have less, dying to selfishness instead of demanding our desires, serving others.

Christmas is the season when we celebrate the birth of a King who refused to occupy a temporary earthly throne to experience a stable and a cross. Because of his extraordinary love, he now sits eternally at the right hand of the Father.

Someday there will be a banquet table at which we’ll all gather to share in the Lord’s great supper. Jesus lived, died and rose again for the joy of inviting every single person: “Come to my table; there is a place saved especially for you.”

Please stop by my personal blog at 2nd Cup of Coffee.

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Blogger Susanne said...

What a beautiful post Linda. It is so wonderful hearing that there is a place special just for everyone and no one will be left out or moved to the side.

December 9, 2007 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Thanks Susanne.

December 9, 2007 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Wow....we had a kid table too...

It was so torturous waiting on the adults to finish eating dessert so we could open gifts and now we do the same crazy thing to our kids.

I think sitting the kids at the big table is an awesome idea.....and letting them open gifts before we eat. :)

Awesome application, Linda.

December 9, 2007 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

I enjoyed this, bless you.

December 9, 2007 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

I loved this so much! I too will someday sit the littlest people at the grown up table!

What a beautiful picture you have given us of our loving Savior who served.

December 9, 2007 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Greatfullivin said...

Linda, I just love your writing! You have such remarkable wit. My grown daughter pointed out to me ,after the birth of her first child,at a large family gathering in my small home that she and her husband were seated at the "childs" table.(high school and college age) I have never done it again. We no longer have seperate tables. We add card tables to the dining table. It is not always the most beautiful table but it is the happiest.Thanks for reminding us our Lord is no respector of persons. I hope I get a seat close enough to see Him at the banquet.

December 9, 2007 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger lori said...

ONE big ol' LONG table...when I am the gram that is how it's going to be...
the littlest at the head!!
I loved that!!

What a table it must be up there!
No kids tables, no assigned seats..'just come!'

I loved it Linda!

December 11, 2007 at 1:50 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

How neat Linda...for I can picture that great table right now! (We too have a "kid table" at my mothers for all holidays) This is such an encouraging post!

December 15, 2007 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Angie said...

How neat Linda...for I can picture that great table right now! (We too have a "kid table" at my mothers for all holidays) This is such an encouraging post!

December 15, 2007 at 3:47 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Girl, I also sat at the kid table. Sheesh, it's a conspiracy. Anyhoo, I loved this post. LOVED IT... Thank you. Merry Christmas. Hugs, Lynn

December 5, 2009 at 11:38 AM  

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It is good to hear from you... thank you so very much for leaving a note on the table. That makes us smile!

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