Each member of our family is getting over a cold we’ve been passing around for a week. As we say around our house, ‘Hazletons love to share.’ While Jeffrey and the girls were not quite over their sniffles, Carson and I woke up Saturday morning with all the symptoms. We had a full weekend scheduled, but decided to cancel everything and just get some rest. I think rest is what we needed the most.
Feeling the need for something nourishing, I pulled out some of our grass fed beef, and a huge soup bone and began simmering some alphabet soup. Only, I hadn’t been able to find alphabet pasta, so we bought a box of tiny pasta in the shape of stars. We re-named our dinner ‘Star Pasta’, and it was a hit. It was exactly the nourishment I was craving, and to top it off, we were talking about the STAR during our Advent time – the star that shone in the sky, marking the place where Christ was born.
It’s so interesting how food plays such a role in life.
Tonight, I planned a simple meal of roasted sweet potatoes, macaroni & cheese, and our delicious Applegate beef hot dogs. It’s cold out tonight, so I thought it was a prime opportunity for Jeff to build a fire outside and let the girls watch him roast our hotdogs over the fire – one of their favorite winter-time activities: watching the fire with Daddy. I pitched the idea to Jeff and he was happy to jump into action.
Tonight our simple dinner wasn’t just food. It was activity. Fellowship.
We belong to a church now that practices this kind of fellowship on a regular basis. Twice weekly, we meet for a meal. It’s more than just fueling our bodies. More than just checking off a necessary step in our day. It is a time of κοινωνία (koi-no-nia)– fellowship.
This is what the first church did in Acts chapter 2. The believers met together regularly for teaching, for prayer, and for the breaking of bread – having a meal together as Jesus had done so many times with people during His ministry on earth.
About a year ago, Jeff and I saw the Lord leading us to create and defend something we call the family table. I’m not talking about our actual, dented & scratched Walmart-clearance table that our family is swiftly outgrowing. I’m referring to the practice of sitting down together as a family for a meal around the table on a regular basis.
During this time, we not only eat, we enjoy each other. We tell stories and talk about our day. The children learn to sit still and take turns talking & listening. They sometimes show Daddy the school work or art work they completed that morning. During December, we are lighting our Advent candles and reading from our Advent book, preparing for Christmas. And often, this is the time we’ll read a short Bible story, or work on Scripture memorization.
All of this is the family table. We’re nourishing our bodies. Our relationships. Our souls.
This is one of the busiest times of the year. Even for our family, who does Christmas a little (okay, a LOT) differently than many, we find our schedule packed, our calendar filled to the brim and overflowing. Like this weekend, there are times we just have to clear the schedule and rest. Get back to what we know the Lord has given us to tend to: raising our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. A lot of this happens in little traditions and routines like the family table.
I know your family has a busy December planned as well. I encourage you to spend some time with just your family and enjoy a meal around the table. Turn off the television (and the computer, and the Wii, and the iPhone….) and talk.
Oh, I forgot to mention sometimes we even sing around the table. We’re not the von Trapps or anything, but it’s a lot of fun.
Have fun with your family this week!