I had a sweet day preparing for the Christmas celebration day with my girls. It was a full day. We had a full—extended—menu; plus, we planned a gingerbread decorating contest. So in addition to the other scrumptious smells, the spice and molasses mix of homemade gingerbread filled the house.
It was the first major holiday I’d host in my new home, and it came together the way I thought it could. I extended the table and added chairs, finding the best place to put my granddaughter’s seat. I counted the china and flatware as I took it out of the family-heirloom china cabinet and reflected on how many times I’d opened and closed those doors through the years in preparation for family meals. I was grateful my home would be full. I set the table and continued work in the kitchen.
I’m not exactly sure why I noticed the problem, but at some point that evening, I looked at the table and noticed I hadn’t set a place for myself. Not even a chair.
I’d been thinking about everyone else. I’d prayed for each of them and us as a family as I’d prepared throughout the day, including when I set the table. But I hadn’t counted myself. I laughed and was glad I caught the mistake then and not when we were about to sit down the next day.
I also thought about the unintended results of humility at times. In this case, I was probably just tired and not thinking straight, but there are times we don’t count ourselves because of our concern for others. That can be a good thing at times but not in totality. After all, our concern for others usually involves those with whom we are invested. We have relationships with them, so they can’t be isolated from us. Each of us counts in our relationship groups.
I’ve seen the opposite happen as well—individuals think so much of themselves that they disregard others. That can be irreversibly catastrophic to a relationship.
Pay attention. Be humble. Set the table for others in your life. Prepare a feast for them.
Then join them—physically, emotionally, and relationally.