Lighting a candle on a tiny table near my window looking out on the snow covered ground, I eagerly anticipate the arrival of my dear friend. I picked the most pleasant view out the window so that our souls will feast on beauty as we talk.
A small crystal bowl is filled with salted, roasted butter pecans. A matching bowl of fresh blueberries sits next to it. Dark chocolates, wrapped in silver paper, one of her favorites, sit in a small old pedestal dish I recovered from a second hand store. My old Austrian tea pot is filled to the brim with strong Yorkshire Gold tea, a favorite of my guest.
I have already pondered the questions I will ask to make our time purposeful because I know it will pass too fast. From doing this at Christmas so many years, we both can hardly wait. I will look into her eyes and even notice the wrinkles around her eyes, the demeanor of her countenance because I want to see into her heart. How has life treated her these past months? Is there a furrow in her brow? What challenges has she encountered? What book has she been reading? And I will take her hand in mine and tell her how very glad I am to be with her and how much I love her. I will ask, how can I pray for you today?
From years of being intentional with one another, we have a heritage of heart sharing that has sustained both of us through many years.
I can't even begin to count how many close friends I have made over a meal or cup of coffee or tea. There is something about stealing time away from the "busy" of life and sipping something wonderful, smooth and warm while sitting in an environment where secrets can be shared, silly moments discussed, sympathy is poured out and dreams become real in the speaking.
Strong coffees in Vienna with new friends who became "besties" gave me a love for tea times.
Saturday morning omelettes and cheesy egg quesadillas became the foundation of a Saturday tradition that knit my heart to my sweet daughters.
Tea times on my front porch with would be friends opened hearts together so we felt understood.
Tea times on the back porch with warm chocolate chip cookies have knit my heart close to my children, one at a time so that they can each feel seen, listened to, understood.
Tea Time Discipleship is what I call it. It is a strong draw to pull together when the atmosphere has been set, the table is laid, and the person feels welcome.
Christmas will undoubtedly, probably be busy for most of us. Yet, putting aside special times for those you love is the best gift you can give to those you love and to yourself. Cross some of the crazy, unnecessary activities off your list and give the gift of yourself. Determine 5 people you will have a quiet time of friendship with this month. Write a small card or send a message and put these beloved or needy ones into your calendar. Be sure to include your children, husband or those who come most quickly to your mind as someone who will indeed be blessed by such a time.
I hope you will enjoy my podcast today as I share about tea time discipleship with you and I know you will love the chapter. It could change your relationships as it has mine—such a treasure, such a simple secret. Enjoy!
Consider giving these books to a friend and have tea times to discuss them together! Use your table all year to build closer relationships.