We are in the thick of holiday preparations and parties, many overflowing with savory and sweet meals to fill our hungry bellies. Tonight, after a long but delightful day of work, I came home tired and hungry to find my wife working on an amazing pasta meal. And as I set my heavy bags down, taking in the warmth of home, I took a moment to breathe in gratitude for many things in my life.
I have a beautiful, bright daughter who amazes me with her grace and creativity, a compassionate, passionate partner who truly loves me for who I am and knows how to challenge me to move closer to my ideal self, a wonderful job where I am able to use many of my gifts and continue working on my growing edges, a just-right for us home in a just-right for us town in a just-right for us country, in-laws who are good and generous beyond measure, friends and cousins and colleagues that I love and admire, a church community that is flourishing in so many ways… truly, my cup is overflowing.
And yet – in this season of light and joy, not all are full, not even close. As we prepare to settle in at tables where we are warm, welcome and well fed, let us inhale gratitude and exhale hope for
Those whose tables bare.
Those who will sit in silence with an empty chair across the table.
Those who are denied the open doors, wide smiles and warm hugs of a holiday homecoming.
Those who are eating only what they can carry on the long journey toward the hope of safety and freedom.
Those who will eat food plopped from institutional cans onto sterile trays – elbow to elbow with other inmates.
Those who will eat last on Christmas day so that tummies at shelters, in church basements, on street corners and in our very own homes will be full.
Lord in your mercy, hear our prayers.
For what hungers do you pray today?