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Monday, November 28, 2011

Why Holiday Feasting Is A Spiritual Act

Credit: Free photos from

Are you still feeling guilty about over-indulging at the Thanksgiving table?  And what about the cookies, pie, and chocolates that invade your home, office, and social activities this time of year?

If you’re like me, the holiday feasting has just begun.

Why fight it?  Holiday guilt is for wimps. 

Which is why I’m going to manage the feasting.  Physically, mentally, and spiritually

Will you join me in embracing the spiritual aspect of holiday feasting?  Simply put, God loves a good meal.  

I started thinking about this before Thanksgiving.  Pastor Eric set the stage by taking a closer look at Jesus’ infamous miracle – the Feeding of the 5,000.  Did you know that this is the only miracle of Jesus to appear in all four Gospels?

I’ve heard this story dozens of times.  And I’ve always focused on Jesus, the boy with the loaves and fish, the disciples, and the crowd. 

I’ve never really focused on the food.  Nor have I focused on the paramount role of food in the story of salvation.
  • The feeding of the 5,000 looks back to the Exodus.  When Jesus directs the crowd to sit down in groups of 50, we flash back to the Israelites in the wilderness.  The similarities – God providing bread and meat to a hungry crowd – is nothing short of divine.  When the Israelites are without food in the wilderness, God provides both manna and quail.  Could it be that Jesus smiles, knowing He will repeat this miracle a few thousand years later?
  • The feeding of the 5,000 looks forward to the Eucharist.  Jesus isn’t just filling empty stomachs.  He is giving of himself – the bread of life.  In remembering his death, we celebrate the ultimate feast.  His body.  His blood.  Poured out on us. While Jesus takes comfort in feeding a hungry crowd, He tells his disciples of a greater feast.  “Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.”
Something about food gives us spiritual understanding.  Is it the smell?  The texture?  The satisfaction?

Something about God loves to feed us.  Which means your holiday feasting is a spiritual act.  

Let's get over the guilt.  When you raise your glass this Christmas season, will you join me in looking back to the Exodus and forward to the Eucharist?


kelybreez said...

Just typed a whole comment and it disappeared when I tried to sign in...

God never, clearly, wanted us to feel guilty about eating. There are times where He wants us to be aware of those who don't have food. And we are to try to help them eat. We can fast at times in order to feed them (Is. 58), and in order to identify with the hungry.

But He actually tells his people to eat together, to feast, to eat a lot, to be happy when they're doing it, to celebrate family and community and friendship WITHOUT some feeling of guilt that they have a lot of food or that they're eating a lot of food.

He approved of feasts, and prescribed them fairly frequently.

Charming's Mama said...

Great post Susan. I really appreciate you insights here.

Nancy said...

I will gladly raise a glass in your direction, Susan. You're right; holiday guilt is for wimps! If the unfolding of God's redemptive plan isn't cause for celebration, I don't know what is!

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm raising my glass and my fork in honor of this post and of pecan pie. I think God loves to feed us literally and figuratively, and my goal is to drink him in this Christmas season.

Laura said...

Love this, Susan. I once read that to have a right relationship with you food you must really love it--savor each bite, give it the import it requires. When I think of eating as a gift from God--as a spiritual act--it changes everything.

Susan DiMickele said...

Kely - thanks for your reminder to feed the hungry -- in doing so, we extend the spiritual act of feasting!

Olivia Newport said...

Just think about how many significant events happened over meals in the Bible. The gathering. The hospitality. The connections. The conversations. The inclusion. The celebration of God's goodness that comes to us in the food he created to sustain us in the first place. Holiday feasting is not the same as holiday gluttonous face-stuffing, but I'm surely going to embrace the spiritual dimension of feasting.

Connie@raise your eyes said...

Oh Susan, what a loving picture of GOD in all this. Thank you for helping me to not just be thankful, but to ponder the food as a "spiritual act" from my GOD.

Stephanie S. Smith said...

Yes amen hallelujah! Eden was not an ascetic spiritual existence...I'm quite sure they ate very well! They walked with God and ate from whatever plant they wanted (save one), and if a world before the fall looked like this, if Eden itself means "pleasure," guilt should not be in the equation. I love that God delights in feeding His children good food.

Ann Kroeker said...

Good stuff, Susan. Jesus changed water to wine, too, in the midst of...a wedding feast!

Jennifer @ said...

Well done, Susan. Makes me think of the great Banquet table that awaits ...

Blessings upon all your holiday feasting ... :)