Those awkward holiday conversations

Awkward-conversation blogBe wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:5-6

Let’s admit it. Even though our holiday gatherings are with family and friends, some of them are still outsiders. They are the ones who don’t fit the family mold—the underachievers, the dreamers, the ones who can’t hold a job, the ones who struggle with addictions, the ones who flit from relationship to relationship. They are the ones who make for awkward conversations. Fortunately, the Apostle Paul, who wrote this letter to the church at Colossae, tells us how to handle it.

First, we need to be wise in our interactions realizing that those outsiders as well as the other insiders are watching how we act. Are we communicating Christ’s love or worldly scorn? Second, we have to make the most of every opportunity. That awkward conversation is a great opportunity to show hospitality by making that person feel welcome and wanted. And those awkward conversations need not be awkward if our words are full of grace, gentle, kind and welcoming.

Then Paul says our conversations should be seasoned with salt. What? Salt was sprinkled on sacrifices, used to seal covenants, used as a preservative for food so that it wouldn’t decay, and used to fertilize farmland. What would it do to our conversations if we saw them as a holy sacrifice? As a representation of God’s covenant of grace? As an instrument for preserving and preventing decay? As a way to prepare another’s heart to receive the good news of Christ’s love? I think we would view ourselves, our speech and those outsiders around the table in a whole new light.

Today, as you prepare the food for the family gathering tomorrow, take a moment to prepare your heart for making the most of the conversations that will take place around the table.

By Rev. Sarah Fotopulos, Associate Pastor