Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Necessity of Community

Today my life group had their life connection morning. This is when we break away from our Bible study and just socialize. We shared a potluck brunch. We shared laughter, stories and family Christmas traditions. We shared our favorite memories of the dishes and desserts unique to our ethnic backgrounds.

We expressed our hopes for how this coming Christmas will play out. All the variety that seven women could list: from enjoying a luxurious catered lunch of Turducken and Beef Wellington to walking alone on the beach in Maui, and every possible combination in between.
We were reminded of the need to be sensitive and, even in the rush, to take time to identify with the grief, burdens, and needs of others with whom we may engage.

And we anticipated the joy in sharing love: serving at the homeless shelter; inviting those without family to our table; sharing holidays with in-laws; finding the right recipe, the right gift, enough gifts.....

And then we began to find the courage to express fears of having our expectations disappointed. Some had already arrived: the adult children who are "bored" with the routine; the son who will remain away again (going on three years now); the prodigal bringing his girlfried ("You'll like this, Mom.... she loves God"); the second Christmas mourning the daughter who died too soon ("Last Christmas was just a blur - I don't remember much"); the absence of any extended family around the table; the husband on the edge of job upheaval, another on the edge of sanity.

We looked into each other's eyes; we shared the tears, we knew the heartbreak. We needed this. We needed each other. We were not alone.

The group hug was the only possible way we could have ended the meeting.

Thank you, God, for my "sisters" - calm our hearts and open our eyes to your miracles. May you enter our lives afresh once again as the Prince of Peace so that we can live as the people you designed us to be: channels of your love, expressions of your joy and confirmation of your peace.

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