For most people, Christmas is a time for family – a time to feast, share and enjoy each other’s company. One of my most lasting memories of my childhood Christmases is of my best friend Susi’s mother Anna, and the way she added a different twist to their celebrations.
Anna and her husband were parents to a large family, so their table at Christmas dinner was full. But Anna had a conviction that she lived by year after year. She believed that if you knew someone who was alone or unhappy or poor at Christmas, you should do something to remedy the situation. She could have helped by dropping by with a gift or a meal, but instead she shared her family’s Christmas with them. Every year, at least one person in need of companionship was invited to her dinner table. As Susi said, “You never knew who was coming for dinner.” Sometimes there were several guests. They shared the family’s dinner and stayed for the rest of the day, playing games and singing songs with the family.
Anna and her husband are both gone now. Susi, who is still my dear friend, lives in a large city, where there is no shortage of lonely people. Continuing on as her mother had done, Susi’s Christmas table has made room for guests who would otherwise be alone on that day. And now, her daughters continue the practice. Anna, a farm woman who never sought honour or fame, has had a lasting impact on generations.
Most of us know at least one person in need of companionship and family warmth on one of the most celebrated holidays of the year. Maybe we could offer that person a place at our table and in our hearts.
– Joyce Slobogian writes from Brandon, Manitoba and is the author of To Die For, available at Pennywise Books in Brandon, and online at Amazon.com.