“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” —Psalm 34:8

The word ‘selah’ throughout Scripture is used as an exclamation mark at the end of a verse to help us pause and reflect on its meaning. Today, in day 15 of our Christmas devotional series we are resting on Psalm 34:8. Selah.

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Taste and See that the Lord is Good

by Alison Moffitt

The Christmas I first introduced my (now) husband to the rest of the family involved remembering lots and lots of new names. In addition to two very extended families, he had to meet all the “tennis friends”.

“Who are the tennis friends?” he asked. “And why are we celebrating Christmas with them?”

It was hard to explain.

Because I’ve never actually played tennis with the tennis friends! My earliest memories of them were down at the local park: running around with seven little kids my age, while our middle-aged parents and their friends played tennis.

The tennis friends are actually my Dad’s mates from the local public high school. They graduated over 40 years ago, but their friendship continues. Every year they celebrate Christmas together with their wives, and their kids, and their grandkids, and any other old friends who might like a reunion.

Food and friends and family are the heartbeat of Christmas celebrations. So, it’s just not Christmas without the tennis friends’ party!

It is heartbreaking to think we may not be able to celebrate together as usual this year, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In all the uncertainty, I have had to step back and ask myself why? Why is it hard to celebrate Christmas without friends? Why do food and friendship feel so necessary?

Food and friendship feel necessary because they are necessary.

Our gracious God formed us to be sustained by these very things. Friendships bring us joy and intimacy. Food nourishes us; sharing a meal with people we love nourishes us even more.

We long for friendship and food because we need these things. We yearn for reunions, and laughter, and long tables bending under the weight of our favourite dishes. Every year at Christmas, we go to great lengths to enjoy the best of food and friendship.

But as we plan our parties, we do well to remember how the Scriptures point to a different banquet. A bigger and better banquet. It is not a Christmas banquet. It is scheduled for the time when Jesus returns to be with His people.

Isaiah 25 describes that lavish feast, with all of God’s people reunited, and the fear of death permanently taken away. As good as our Christmas parties might be, there is something even better to come!

For now, our food and friendship are a delicious foretaste of something that we will not taste in full until Jesus’ return.

I’m still not sure if we will be able to gather for our tennis friends’ party this year. But whether we gather in person or not, our friendship reminds me to hope. This deep longing to spend Christmas with friends is God’s gift to help me long for Jesus’ return. What we know now in part will be experienced in full. When Jesus comes again, we will know the true and complete satisfaction of sharing a meal with friends.

Jesus, what a friend we have in you. When we call out, you hear us. In your presence, we lack nothing. You are close to the broken-hearted. You make our faces shine. We taste and see that you are good. Thank you, Lord, for our friendships. All of them. Even the hard ones. Give us eyes to see the glory that all friendship points us to. Give us patience to wait with hope for our reunion with Christ. Give us growing, living hearts so we can love our friends with joy. Amen

Alison Moffitt

This year, Alison Moffitt is mostly hanging at home in her multi-generational household, looking after daughter Sophia and brand-new baby Tom. When she is not on maternity leave, she works at St Alban’s Five Dock, part of Christ Church Inner West in Sydney.

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At the Table Conversation Starter

What does the dinner table mean for you and your family?

Let us encourage one another with compassion this Christmas.

Advent Compassion Challenge

Food security is a complex issue in the developing world. You can transform a family’s financial situation and their pantry through the gift of a chicken. You will help ensure children have a steady source of protein plus plenty of eggs to sell.

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To celebrate yummy Christmas food, let’s make Christmas cookies together and post a photo on Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #compassionchristmas. You could drop them on your neighbours’ doorsteps—and share the goodness!

Nutty Christmas Cookie

1& 1/3 cups self-raising flour 90g margarine 1/3 cup sugar 1 egg 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts (or your nut of choice) 1 cup of chocolate chips (white and milk)

Part one: Melt the butter, add the sugar and let cool. Add chocolate chips and nuts to flour.

Part two: Beat the egg into the butter/sugar, add to the flour and mix.

Part three: Spoon mixture onto a tray and bake 180ºC for 10-15 mins, or until just firm to touch.