Today we continue our Advent journey, recognizing key people who have influenced our lives. We’ve mentioned parents and grandparents, but there are other family members – aunts and uncles – who can also be part of our “Legacy of Faith.”
My father had four siblings. Of them, I knew Aunt Priscilla best. She never married and thus had more time to travel and visit her sixteen nieces and nephews. We delighted in the attention she showered on us.
While I was at college, across the country from my own family, she hosted me on numerous occasions at her New York apartment. She, like my grandmother, never learned to cook. Her idea of cooking meant buying a rotisserie chicken from the local deli, boiling a plastic bag of frozen vegetables, and adding a Sara Lee cake for dessert. Knowing I was coming and my love of cooking, Aunt Pris would sign up to help with bake sales at her work and at her church. I spent many happy hours in her tiny kitchen measuring flour and sugar, fulfilling those obligations.
All my cousins have similar fond memories of Aunt Pris. She accepted each of us as we were. She recognized our unique gifts. That was part of her special legacy in my life. I’m sure there were decisions we made that caused her to shake her head in concern, but she never rejected a one of us.
We have no knowledge of whether Jesus had uncles and aunts. Jesus had no home where he could host nieces and nephews, but he had a special way of accepting all who came near. In Luke 15:1-2, the Pharisees criticized him for welcoming sinners and tax gatherers. Yet, these were the people who needed him most. Feeling accepted, they came to listen to him.
Who has made you feel welcome? Perhaps another phone call is in order to express gratitude to that person. Is it time to pass along the gift of hospitality to someone else this season?