It was a “Christmas tradition.” Every year while on staff at Williamson’s Chapel, a few weeks before Christmas we would be invited to the home of the most amazing cook. It took the place of our staff meeting and truthfully, it was a day we all coveted because it gave us a chance to breathe amidst the hecticness of Christmas preparations.
The hostess went all out. The table was set with beautiful decor, the food was amazing, and in that relaxed atmosphere ministry didn’t feel like “work” – it felt as it should feel – like a privilege and a calling. At the end of the meal her husband would present us with a gift chosen for each person individually. Their generosity to and for us was a game-changer during Christmas. It gave us renewed vitality.
The book of Isaiah, more than any other book in scripture, prophecies of the coming Messiah. In Isaiah the author describes a “feast of rich food” that is available for us all. While it is similar to the yearly staff meal in that it is the most generous meal offered, it goes a step further.
This feast is one of life – the great inner feast – of which we are all invited to participate.
We have the opportunity to go within this feast, to partake of death being eradicated, tears giving way to hope, and a joy that replaces even our deepest sorrows.
We are invited to be guests at the Great Banquet of the inner aliveness in God. When we attend this banquet we can begin to see ourselves as we truly are and we will see life for what it can become. It’s the best meal ever . . . and it is completely free. It’s the generosity of the night in Bethlehem that forever changed things.
Let us ponder what it means to be guests at the banquet of inner aliveness in God and what that truly means.
6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.
7 And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations
8 he will swallow up death forever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken
9 It will be said on that day
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation
10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.