In honor of my birthday and birthday season around my house, I wanted to share an excerpt from my book “Bringing Home More Than Groceries: Stories About Gathering & Nourishing People.” It’s actually an excerpt from one chapter, so if you’d like to read the whole chapter on how hospitality celebrates, you can! DOWNLOAD IT HERE.
Last year, we missed celebrating birthdays like we usually do, so this year we’ve been celebrating all the birthdays and love doing so! Three of the five of us have birthdays within two weeks from the end of April to the beginning of May. Pretend you’re joining us on our porch for one of the recent birthday parties, and let’s celebrate together.
I grocery shopped on my 37th birthday. It was a Tuesday in the middle of a busy season for our family. Cate was finishing third grade and Ben had made it to the end of kindergarten. We’d all survived and maybe even thrived as we added a new person to our family about a month after Ben started kindergarten. We had a new groove as a family of five.
The week ahead held birthday party preparations for my girl turning nine, end-of-the-school extras like class parties and Teacher Appreciation Week, and some of my own celebrating, of course. I had a really long list: ingredients to make chicken enchiladas for the teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week and then double for my own family, gifts cards for presents, diapers in a bigger size because Rachel was growing before my eyes, baby formula, toppings for the pancake bar Cate wanted for her Pippi Longstocking-themed birthday party, and, well, food for meals and snacks.
Food might be my love language. I used to think it was gift giving. And then quality time started to matter more. I still really love and feel loved knowing someone thought of me, took the time to get me something, and made plans with me.
Greg brought me a cinnamon roll from a local bakery that morning for my 37th birthday. My best friend planned dinner with some of my other friends later in the week so we could celebrate together. Even when it’s not my birthday, I like to lunch with my friends. I plan gatherings with adoptive moms around a table at a local restaurant that also has a ball pit. Among favorite blessings as a new mom were when friends showed up with meals, so that’s what I do for other new moms.
I’m telling you, food may be my love language. And birthdays.
Of course, there’s something sacred about sharing meals and our real lives around a table. So sacred that after God made covenants with people, they ate. Jesus calls Himself the bread of life (John 6:35) and multiplies fishes (Matthew 14:13-21) so people know what it’s like to feel full beyond their stomachs. We eat at weddings and birthday parties. We bring food after funerals and births.
Most importantly, we celebrate Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross with Holy Communion. Our church does this weekly, but I know frequency varies from church to church. Christ followers know this simple, traditional meal is life changing. We remember Jesus gathering with His disciples for one last supper. We remember Jesus knowing His time on earth was ending and displaying faithfulness to His Father’s plan. We remember His acts of dying and rising again and how that changes our futures forever. Communion is truth fulfilled.
I have other hospitality-related goodies such as another excerpt, a printable on how to open your home and life in every season, and a playlist for you on the “Bringing Home More Than Groceries” page. Of course, you can buy the whole book at Amazon too!