What on earth does Red wine, vinegar and Christmas have to do with each other?
Let me start by saying how much I love the table and especially at Christmas time.
Hands passing bowls, knives and forks clinking against plates, bread being torn, laughter as stories old and new are weaved, the glow of candles, the connection of hearts.
I love the Christmas gift of simply being present, accepting, and listening.
Time stops when we gather at the table. It is where we look people in the eye, where we tell the truth about how hard a year it has been or how good it has been. It is where we make space to listen to story.
It is where we get to serve vision, hopes and dreams beyond our own. To be present in the midst of someone’s else’s dream and celebration. To laugh, clap and dance with people.
I especially love the table at Christmas time because it is where we offer ourselves as community to one another. The table is a great equaliser.
But something strange happens at Christmas time in the heart of many Christians. Maybe it is fatigue, maybe it is hurry and busy schedules.
But sometimes when we gather at the table we can taste more like vinegar than a good red wine.
The legacy, the aroma of a vinegar is sourness or bitterness.
As Christians we can leave a trail of sourness and bitterness at the table.
I don’t think we mean to be rude, hurried, demanding, and wanting perfect.
But sometimes in this busy season our desire for perfect can leave a sour note behind in the heart of others.
In this season chefs and front of house staff pour their heart and soul into food, into service and into love.
They give of their best.
Their heart, their bodies, their mind is filled with giving.
They pour themselves out in giving.
Giving of good food, giving of good service, giving of everything they have.
At the end of long hard days when their body and bed sheets meet they remember the aroma we give.
It is our aroma they carry into their dreams and bed sheets.
The gift we can give at Christmas is the gift of red wine.
A full bodied red wine fills your palate. It assaults your senses. It makes you feel warm and cozy and as though you want to nestle by a roaring fire. The invitation is to rest, to restore, to take time to slow down and to simply be. It is an invitation for long conversations.
Full-bodied wines often have a multitude of flavors. They might be smooth and velvety to start. Then rush in like a tidal wave a few seconds later and wash across your tongue like a tsunami of black currants, moldy cheese and the sweet aromatic scent of fresh picked lilacs.
A full bodied wine bursts into our mouth and ravages our taste buds, these luscious, seductive sirens plucked from the vines and eager to be devoured, one detectible sip at a time.
This is who we are meant to be.
An aroma of red wine.
Please, please, please…as we go through Advent and Christmas may we as Christians be a good red wine.
May our aroma be full bodied, laced with grace and love.