It started out as a spontaneous thing: we were having our bi-monthly group dinner and at this particular dinner were celebrating Barb’s birthday. The dinner had a fiesta theme so we all had margaritas. After all the food was served I suddenly had the urge to toast my friend on this her birthday celebration. I stood and said my toast and we all raised our glasses in a salute to Barb. Since then it has become a tradition in our group to give a toast to whoever’s birthday we are celebrating.
Whenever I know there is a birthday coming up I always make sure that someone will be bringing some sort of special drink. We usually have something alcoholic (like wine) for those who can have fun and something non-alcoholic for the pregnant and under-aged in the group. I’ll then assign someone ahead of time to give the toast so that they have some time to come up with something appropriate to say. We‘ve had a wide range of toast styles, from Barb’s touching toast to Patty: “It’s been a joy to get to know you and watch you grow as a Christian...” to Dad’s humorous toast for Joshua: “May you never become better at golf than I am...” This tradition that started out as a spontaneous thing has turned into a really special time for our little group. It’s one more part of the glue that binds us together.
It’s a strange company of people that meet here to share a meal. We are made up of six separate households of all different ages and stages of life. To an outsider I imagine we look a little odd all bunched together as we are, but that’s what’s so beautiful about our group. The only thing that we all have in common is the same Grace saved us all and that’s what makes us a family. Every other Thursday night we get a glimpse into what eternity will be like- all sorts of people of different ages and races all coming together for the great Wedding Feast.
Maybe sometimes we seem a little weird together. Maybe some people would think it odd that a fifty-something year old pastor could joke with a twenty something young man about the different explosions that can be created using only household objects. Our dinners may sometimes look like a comedy scene straight from a sitcom, but we’re bound together in a wonderful way that I don’t really understand and really don‘t need to.
So whether we’re discussing explosions or honoring someone with a birthday toast, we are encouraging each other with the hope of enjoying this beautiful togetherness for all eternity when we will be toasting our Jesus with the finest wine perfection has to offer.
I’ll drink to that.