As midwinter approaches on the northern hemisphere, it is time to once again gather with our loved ones around a table for a shared meal. It’s a time of great generosity, hospitality, a social ritual of both giving and receiving, feeding and being fed.
We welcome our guests, we might cook together, decorate the table, serve each other food, pour out drinks, swap stories and perhaps sing songs.
Sharing food with our loved ones of all ages, and even extending the hospitality to strangers, puts to rest the story of scarcity, at least for now.
Seated together around a table, we can make enough time for each other. We can put aside our phones and meet each others gazes with a promise of attention, of listening to and seeing one another. We can bridge what sets us apart.
How we are at the table reaffirms the sanctity of food and the blessings of family and friendship, of connection and belonging. We can share gratitude for the many beautiful and unexpected ways this earth continues to sustains us. We can break bread, release our grievances, and restore peace.
Table fellowship is at the heart of spiritual etiquette, the practice of sustaining the space between friends, strengthening the subtle threads of relationships, nurturing companionship, and extending the family over time.
It offers us a place where we might return to fundamentals, the bare bones of being human, of shaping community through the bounty we’re willing and able to share.
Here we bear witness to one another, offering our presence to the possibility of remembering, rejoicing, or grieving as the wheel of the year turns once again, and light, life, may yet return.