A lot of people made stunning remarks about how brave I was for doing it, but before hitting our one-month-of-marriage mark, my husband and I committed ourselves to hosting Thanksgiving for our family. It was strange to me that people found it shocking; this is exactly what we had always dreamed of, and both of us live for having people in our home. Many times I walked down the hall and through each room, specifically praying in the places where people would gather. We want our home to be a refuge, a safe place—a place that, when people step through the door and into those four walls, peace immediately washes over them and they feel at home. So, while some people felt I was crazy for hosting my first married Thanksgiving, I felt nothing but sheer joy about it.
Before we even knew what house we would be moving into, I knew I wanted my dad to make us a table. I wanted a piece of him that we would always have that could hold memories as if the table itself had absorbed them through every plank of wood, being passed down from generation to generation with tales being told from the generation before. Around it, I envisioned lighthearted conversations that connected people and deep conversations that changed the course of peoples’ lives. It meant everything to me.
The Monday of Thanksgiving week, my dad completed our table, and it was placed perfectly in our dining room. I could tell you the story of how it all came together, but that was the Lord. It sat on a rug I bought before we even moved into the house, completely unsure if the table would fit on it or not but, of course, it did. Flawlessly. The same way the chairs we bought second hand matched the rug as if they were sold together. As my dad sealed the surface of the table, I told him that it was perfect. He said, “Just have as much fellowship around it as you can. That’s what really matters.”
This one piece of advice reminded me that it’s not the presentation of the food you’re serving, it’s not the brand of dishes on which the food is served, it’s not having every decoration precisely accenting the room. It really is creating that space for people to feel at home with you. Because home is a feeling, not a look or a style or a certain level of “put together.” Home is lived in because home is real life. And a home should always be open to do what homes are made to do—love all who enter.
About the Author
Lexi Shipp: Lexi Shipp is a passionate writer, speaker, and Bible teacher. She is an author, childhood cancer survivor, and spent 5 ½ years on staff at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. With a degree in Religion specified in Christian Ministry, Lexi is currently serving alongside her husband doing Girls Ministry at London Bridge Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Working with middle and high school girls for years, she has a heart for connecting all generations of women and championing the next generation for the cause of Christ. Lexi serves as the Blog Team Lead for the SBC of Virginia’s Women’s Ministry Blog and on the SBCV Women’s Ministry Strategy Team. To read more of Lexi’s writings or to book her as a speaker, visit alexisshipp.com.