For particular events, a formal invitation is mailed. In planning a wedding, an invitation is designed and even framed after the gathering. For a graduation, family members are sent a formal announcement, so everyone can put the date on their calendar. Every now and then for a significant birthday, like the birthdays with a zero in them, an invitation in placed in the mail.
We have to decide what font to use for the letters, and we must remember to write out everyone’s full names. We deliberate on the thickness of the paper, or we choose to borrow a template from another invitation. We ask people to reply by a particular date and sometimes to check either chicken or pasta.
Formal invitations mark important events, so we can celebrate with friends and family; but during this time of year, there are sacred gatherings, which do not require any invitation. We will not receive anything in the mail.
I remember as a boy knowing exactly what our plans were every Christmas even though we never received a formal invitation. After the Christmas Eve service, we always gathered with the Martin family because they all lived in Augusta. We never received an invitation in the mail, but we always knew there was a place for us around the table.
We have gatherings with friends and family where there is a standing invitation, and as a family of faith, we have those as well. We will gather for our Christmas Potluck Dinner on Thursday, December 5. There will be a place for us at Family Night at Christmas on December 8. We will also have a seat for us at the Sanctuary Choir’s music on December 15. We will worship with one another on Christmas Eve. We will not receive a formal invitation in the mail, but there will be a place for each of us!
We look forward to these informal invitations, as we gather to eat together or to celebrate with the music of Advent and Christmas. We will gather around the hope, peace, joy, and love of God. If we encounter others, who do not know they have a place at the table with us, we can let them know they are welcome. There is enough love around the table for us all!