Author: Clare Steele, CEO, Compassion Australia
As we walk through Advent, I have been reflecting on the image of the Christmas table. You too might be able to recall how your family gathers and celebrates around your table, filled with festive treats and hearty meals. The joy, the laughter, and the stories shared create memories that you hold in your heart.
Tables are meant to do just that—bring people together. The best meals are the ones you share with other people.
And that’s what we find when we turn to Scripture. The Bible is filled with meals and feasts, and I see the image of a table and the way it signifies generous hospitality, speaking about justice.
Isaiah uses this image of hospitality to hold out a promise—God’s promise of restored relationships.
Isaiah 25:6-8 says:
“On this mountain, the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain He will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; He will swallow up death forever.”
Can you imagine a table overflowing with the finest food and the best of wines? It’s an abundant and beautiful promise of divine hospitality. It is an image of deep fellowship.
This is God’s promise that one day our most basic needs will be met abundantly. In the new creation, there will be no more hunger, thirst, sickness, or sorrow.
This promise is a covenant that God will satisfy our deepest needs. In the new creation, there will be no more isolation, exclusion, or injustice. Jesus Christ invites everyone to this table. The poor and the powerless will not be forgotten.
We will eat at the table that God has prepared, and Scripture promises again and again that creation will be renewed. He will wipe away tears and remove disgrace.
This quote by John Stackhouse reminds me that Christmas is not just for the shiny and bright. It reminds me of the coming restoration.
“There is no yuletide sentimentality in Advent. Peace will not come by wishing for it. Peace will not come by imagining it. Peace will not come by God waving a magic wand over it. God’s justice will arrive like a hurricane … But God can blow the miasma away and leave only fresh air. God can roll back the clouds and let the sunshine in. And He will do so upon His people for the benefit of all people.”
Our world is struggling to find peace. But it is only through God’s Promised One—Jesus Christ—that this is truly possible.
This is restoration.
This is the redemptive work of the Gospel.
This is the waiting promise from our time spent together this Advent.
Through birth, life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has brought peace for those who trust in Him.
Therefore, we celebrate. It is the beauty fulfilled in the true peace between us and God. And though we can taste a little goodness of this peace now, we long for Heaven where, with Jesus, this peace will never end.
This is our call to justice, to sit at the table and restore His compassion to those in need.
About the Author:
Clare Steele is the CEO of Compassion Australia, a Christian international child development charity with more than 60 years of experience working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children through local churches. Compassion is Christ-centred, child-focused, church-based, and seeks to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.