Written by Brian Johnson
When I think of Christmas, I think of breakfast. Since I was little, the most central element of my family’s Christmas celebration has been eating a big breakfast together on Christmas morning.
When I was young, it drove me crazy. We’d come downstairs, open our stockings, but we weren’t allowed to open the presents under the tree until after breakfast. But the problem was that breakfast – which included a breakfast quiche, a hashbrown casserole, spiced fruit, and more – took FOREVER to cook. So, while it sat in the oven, I just sat there staring at the tree, longing for it to be time for presents. As an eight year old, the wait was excruciating. But then, finally, we’d get to eat – and even though I had a hard time waiting for it, I always LOVED the chance to feast together on delicious food.
Over the years, as our family has evolved, the breakfast tradition evolved with it. My wife’s family tradition growing up had been cinnamon buns on Christmas morning, so when I got married, we added cinnamon buns to the feast. One year, bacon made an appearance, and it’s been with us ever since. A few years ago, we rearranged the order of breakfast – now, we eat cinnamon buns and bacon after stockings, and we eat the rest of the breakfast smorgasbord after we’ve opened the rest our presents – now we spread out the food and have turned the full breakfast into a brunch/lunch to cap the morning’s family time.
The tradition has changed over the years, but throughout its various incarnations, I have learned to love that Christmas breakfast – it’s probably my favorite part of Christmas day. What I love about Christmas breakfast is that it’s an opportunity to pause and enjoy time together with my family. At the end of a busy month, it’s a moment where there is nothing to do except sit, eat, laugh, talk, and enjoy life. And I also love that it’s a tradition that keeps making space for more people to join it – first my wife, then my children, then my brother-in-law – more and more people keep joining the table, and the more people who are present, the more joyous it is.
The church is supposed to be a little bit like my family’s Christmas breakfast. It should be a place that holds onto what’s essential while also being open to change and new ideas. More than that, the church is called to continue the tradition of Jesus, who was constantly eating and drinking with all sorts of people – Jesus always had room at his table for one more, and, as his church, so should we. Jesus welcomed everyone to his table, no matter what – and that’s our job too.
As you prepare for Christmas, take a moment to think about who is included in your Christmas celebrations – and who you know that might be feeling left out these days. How could you include or invite someone new to experience Christmas with you? How could you welcome someone who feels unwelcome? How could our church be more intentional about welcoming all people to come and discover the love of the Jesus whose birth we celebrate this season?
This Christmas, may your table be open to all, and may you discover the joy that comes from feasting together.
Prayer for the day: Welcoming God, thank you for welcoming all of us at your table of love. Teach us to welcome others at our tables as you welcome us at yours. Amen.
If you miss any of our daily readings, you can find them archived here. (Readings will be added each day.) We hope these readings will help you encounter God this season!