Welcoming the Stranger to the Table

TableWell the turkey is down to soup and Julia, my youngest, has finished off the stuffing – the best part of the turkey, she declares every Christmas and Thanksgiving. Thinking back to our recent Christmas dinner, I can’t help but muse at what a joyous meal it was. A real family event.  Paul carved the bird as he always does, and Jessica, our eldest, outdid herself with a superb Irish cream cheesecake. But, like that first family Christmas so long ago, ours was an extended ‘family’ event. While we had no shepherds, or Wise Men, we did have guests, strangers whose very presence and whose troubled stories ensured that ours was no ‘Leave it to Beaver’ Christmas. Julia invited Juan, a recent arrival from El Salvador, to dinner. Meara, our middle daughter, helped her friend Hannah get a pass from CAMH, where she is being treated for mental health illness, so she could join us. The mess is long cleared away, but as we draw closer to the feast day of Saint John Bosco, the patron saint of troubled youth and young people, I can’t help but think that he would approve of my daughters, for they are young women of action. And if that first Christmas was nothing else, it was full of loving action. May 2013 be full of the joy of doing.

– Grace Deutsch

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