My good friend Idelette had asked me to write a brief note about Advent according to my Chinese roots. Christmas is a distinctly North American holiday celebrating a very Jewish individual who doesn't seem to have much to do with the Chinese. Ah but here's the rub, that we can celebrate His Gift of Love to us without the blinders of cultural borders or ethnic dividers, because through God's eyes, He is the Given and Risen Saviour to humankind.
It’s been turkey every year since my family moved to Canada, but this year, I desperately want to go back to my Asian roots where our tastes for scalding broth and paper thin meat run gut deep. Every year, my home’s been open to immigrants from lands too remote to remember and still too reminiscent of home to forget. People come because they’ve been invited into a home, with a promise of cranberried and gravied fowl, where they would be served, and someone’s historic journey across the Pacific pond will be shared. Inevitably, mashed potatoes will end up on the floor, our guinea pig Momo would be squealing for attention from the visiting children, all will be a bevy of activity in the time it takes to sit down, eat and discuss the dearth of snow and the less-than-charming BC winter.
But this year, I’m prompted to share a communal pot where every one cooks together. I grew up in a family with seven people and hot potting is a special occasion where food gets scooped and served from one to another. It reminds me, nostalgically enough, of a bygone era where simple napa cabbage (the cheapest veg), liver (a reasonable meat), prawns and the ever-versatile tofu can extend a dinner by an hour. And what great conversations we had around the old hot pot with the copper funnel and the smouldering charcoal!
This Christmas, as I think ahead to prepare the meal, I’ll put out an extra chopstick for Jesus, the foreigner, or the gaijin in our midst. He’s the reason we are celebrating Christmas with a hotpot, because an Advent hotpot is about bringing people from many nations together, under one roof, around one table, sharing one pot and talking about our lives, our hopes, our dreams. He’s going to be here that night, and he’s going to be using chopsticks, supping with us, and whispering his love to each person in attendance.
And mark my words, someone is going to ask, “Who’s that extra chopstick for?” and I’m going to tell him.
A word for today: Supping
Activity: Open your home to a new friend
Prayer: Lord, help me open my heart, my home, to you first, then to my neighbour.