From Passover to The Last Supper, God’s word reveals the importance of the daily meal. Artists from daVinci to Rockwell have painted it. We are bombarded by commercials featuring products to make it quicker and easier. The family meal is one of the most familiar parts of our culture. Unfortunately, our family lives have become too over-scheduled to find time for this integral part of our daily routine.
Some of my fondest memories are from the family table during meal time. I always looked forward to birthday celebrations when we could request our favorite meal. Nothing compared to the simple joy of being surrounded by loved ones on holidays when the family table grew as large as our dining room could hold. One of the most meaningful meals of my life was the final Thanksgiving my family shared with my father before he passed away from cancer. The sights, sounds, and smells of this meal will always be a blessing that I thank God for.
When we became parents, my husband and I always made the family meal a daily priority for our daughter. Dinnertime was our time to pray, praise, connect, and share our daily lives and news with each other. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve built beautiful memories at our table. I hope I have stirred in you a memory of a beautiful meal you have shared with the loved ones in your lives.
Jesus and his disciples made eating together more than just a meal. This was their time to worship together. One of my favorite verses about their meals is Acts 2:46. “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” The meal was their time to fortify not only their bodies, but also their souls. This was their source of encouragement and support on their faith journey together. I pray we find that same familiar support with our loved ones today. May we see the beauty in a simple meal shared as a source of love, comfort, and strength with those we hold most dear in our lives. This can be one of the most intimate ways to celebrate and connect with those God brings into our paths.
One of my family’s favorite meals is one of the simplest: soup, salad, and bread. Meal preparation shared together as a family makes dinnertime even more meaningful. Our favorite is chili:
1lb of ground beef
1 medium onion
1 stalk of celery chopped
2 tsps of chili powder
1 tsps salt and a dash of pepper
16 oz. can stewed tomatoes
8 oz tomato sauce
15 oz can kidney beans, undrained
Brown beef, onion, and celery in a large skillet and drain the excess fat. Stir in the remaining ingredients except beans. Simmer covered 30 to 45 minutes until flavors are blended. Stir in beans at the end, heat through.
We like to be creative and add different toppings: sour cream, tortilla chips, shredded cheese, and green onion are a few of our favorites! A simple garden salad and cornbread or french bread make perfect compliments to the chili.
We always prefer something instrumental for mealtime. One of our favorites is the cd “Forest”, by George Winston.
Father God, as we gather together to share this family meal, we thank you for the blessings of this day. We praise you for the gift of family and this time we have to share with each other. Bless the meal we are about to receive. May this meal nourish our bodies, and may the conversation feed and encourage our souls. We pray all this in our beautiful savior’s name, Amen.
reate a memorable family meal together! Include the entire family in the process. Plan the menu and shop for the ingredients together. Allow each family member to participate in the preparation of the meal whenever possible. All phones or social media should not be allowed at the table. Pray together before the meal, light candles, and enjoy instrumental music. Most importantly, enjoy each other and the beautiful gift of your family. Perhaps this meal may even be an inspiration to you to seek ways to prepare or serve a meal for those in need in your community.