Earlier this week, when I was sitting in my office, I remembered this quote, from a different blog I once read, and then I looked back, back, back in time, to see if I could find it again. Here ’tis.
[The] dinner party is a true proclamation of the abundance of being–a rebuke to the thrifty little idolatries by which we lose sight of the lavish hand that made us. It is precisely because no one needs soup, fish, meat, salad, cheese, and dessert at one meal that we so badly need to sit down to them from time to time. It was largesse that made us all; we were not created to fast forever. The unnecessary is the the taproot of our being and the last key to the door of delight. Enter here, therefore, as a sovereign remedy for the narrowness of our minds and the stinginess of our souls, the formal dinner…the true convivium–the long Session that brings us nearly home.
-Robert Farrar Capon
The one word I forget about when reading this is “largesse,” so I tend to look it up when I come across it–a reference to generosity in giving and gifts. How fitting.
The love of God is a boundlessly, illogically, extravagant love. And this we celebrate at Christmastime.
Even procrastinators have traditions, and mine is wrapping my gifts on Christmas morning, before everyone else is awake/ assembled for gift-exchange.
This means that I wrap things that can be unwrapped literally 15 minutes later (or less, depending on the gift). I thought about that this year, for a second asked myself: “Is it worth it?”
But, just as quickly, I knew the answer: it was. It is. The love of God is wildly extravagant, and maybe one of the best ways to remember that is to buy metallic paper, beautiful, luxurious paper, and cut and fold and tape it around a box of something special for someone you love.
No one really needs this, I suppose. But, how much magic is contained in those yearly moments when, in a group, things are shared and opened, “I thought about this part of you, remembered it, when I was shopping/ creating”–this is what gifts say.
Gifts speak about reaching beyond ourselves, thinking about what we most love about someone else, or what would make them smile, or what would make their lives smoother or happier in the coming year. To give a gift is to softly stretch towards the generosity God already modeled this season.
The Word was made Flesh. And dwelt among us.
So we gather on a cold night, after we have spent the day chopping things and utilizing every burner on the stove, cleaning every corner of the house, using the cutlery and also the back-up cutlery, because this news is too, too good to lock inside of ourselves. Joy to the world, because it spills out, every time.
Let heaven and nature sing. We have a God who joins us. Love is alive, He is with us, He will never leave us alone.
Merry, merry Christmas, from my house and my family and my room, a room that now looks like a Christmas crime scene thanks to the largesse of a God who has gifted me with more good people than I can even count.
2 thoughts on “The lavish hand that made us”
You make a good case for celebration 🙂 … though we enjoined the family to desist from the extravagant wrapping and use news paper with ribbon in consideration of the environment, There is always a conflict in either way – How much is too much or too little ??
With so many sermons reminding us to be mindful of our spending and to remember the poor, it is hard to strike the right balance of celebration without extravagance though indeed the Gift of Christmas is extravagance beyond measure as you have rightly pointed out..
In preparing a Christmas radio programme I took up a similar theme – The spirit of Christmas is indeed internal but manifested by external acts … and if we drop these too much we lose the ‘goodwill on earth’ that Christmas brings to every part of the globe.
I came across a great site that reminds us to “be Intentional” in our actions .. e.g Be Intentional in our giving because we received … etc … a sort of matching the internal with external.
Much like you have done …matching extravagance with extravagance … Cheers!!! 🙂
I hear you on this.
I am also reminded of a story. Once, when Christmas fell on a Friday, a friar approached St. Francis of Assisi and asked if they should fast, seeing as it was a Friday. St. Francis, though, who LOVED the Baby Jesus, exclaimed, “Oh, that the WALLS could eat meat!” 😀
But, I’m always trying to find the balance, too.