One of the things I love most about Advent is the food. Whereas Lent is a barren time, a time of denial, Advent is a time of careful indulgence. Advent is a time where we test and taste and try. Perhaps it’s the winter that calls us to eat fatty sausages and cookies, or maybe it’s just that sampling food is what we do when we’re waiting for guests, but it’s one of my favorite parts.
It’s funny to think of a table surrounded by all of the animals in Isaiah’s vision of the future: lamb, wolf, calf, lion, goat, leopard, bear, cow, snake, and child. Seems like something out of a fairytale book, or some strange dream that we’d only have after eating way too much.
But perhaps that’s the point.
The world begins at the kitchen table. No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table. So it has been since
Creation, and it will go on.
We chase chickens or dogs away from it. Babies teethe at the corners. They scrape
their knees under it.
It is here that children are given instructions on what it means to be human. We make
men at it, we make women.
At this table we gossip, recall enemies and the ghosts of lovers.
Our dreams drink coffee with us as they put their arms around our children.
They laugh with us at our poor falling-down selves and as we put ourselves back together once
again at the table.
This table has been a house in the rain, an umbrella in the sun.
Wars have begun and ended at this table. It is a place to hide in the shadow of terror.
A place to celebrate the terrible victory.
We have given birth on this table, and have prepared our parents for burial here.
At this table we sing with Joy, with sorrow.
We pray of suffering and remorse. We give thanks. Perhaps the world will end at the kitchen table while we are laughing and crying, eating of the last sweet bite.
– Joy Harjo, “Perhaps the World Ends Here”
Questions for reflection: Who can you invite over this Advent and share a meal with? In what ways can you make your table a place where your family gathers again? Perhaps adding an Advent candle ritual?