THE FAMILY MEAL!
(make it your sacred tradition)
As I look back on all the years of raising our 4 children, my absolute favorite time of day, was our family meal at supper time. This was a sacred tradition in our home. My wife’s delicious food and all 4 of our children sitting around the table together every evening was the highlight of our day. I asked my children recently about their memories of mom’s cooking and I got this list:
Mom’s Red velvet cake (my favorite), red beans and rice with tilapia and baked potatoes, peas glorious peas, homemade (heart-shaped) waffles, that fantastic salad with the crushed ramen noodles and shaved almonds and chicken, homemade bread made in her bread machine, tuna casserole, spaghetti, oven-baked subs with that delicious melted cheese, homemade breaded chicken fingers, green bean casserole, mom’s legendary homemade chicken noodle soup, mom’s mulligan stew, her homemade chocolate chip cookies, her homemade salted nut-roll, her homemade French silk pie, mom’s breakfast pizza, her dessert fruit pizza, her shepherd’s pie, her homemade soups, her glorious, no-lump mashed potatoes, her homemade chipotle chicken with black beans and rice, George Foreman grilled pitas, her wonderful tacos, her special homemade desserts, her butter dips, her baked chicken! And yes, she always made vegetables to eat, and lots of fruit!
The memories came oozing from our salivating memory banks!
Our evening family meal together was filled with laughter, joy, peace, love, and encouragement. It brought us all together, and we would listen to each other, affirm each other, enjoy each other’s company, and enjoy the shared experience of Kathy’s specially prepared meals that were made with so much love, and care. Our family meal helped make each member of our family feel valued, important, and accepted. You may not believe this, but we did not allow arguing and bickering at the family meal. Scout’s honor!
Sometimes it would feature a special story from one of the kids’ experiences that day. Other times we would each bring our verse journal to the supper table, and as we ate our meal each would take a turn sharing a verse they wrote down for that day. These family meals gave us a much-needed connection with each other. This daily, shared experience sitting us down around Kathy’s wonderful homemade cooking with no TV on, no phones at the table, no distractions, but all 6 of us enjoying each other’s company and the delicious food we shared together was a real taste of heaven every single evening. As an empty nester, I miss this most of all!
My friends, there is just something very special and spiritual indeed in sharing meals together. Jesus often ate with his disciples, the early church took their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart.
Recently I began a simple little tradition of getting a pizza to bake, and a bag of grapes and I sit with each family group of my grandchildren for a lunchtime meal. I have 4 sets of grandkids, so I try to do this once a month with each set. Sometimes at our home, and sometimes at theirs. What a blessing to my soul to sit with them, hear their stories, laugh with them, enjoy the wonderful blessing of their company and shared food, and revel in the special connection that a family meal brings to our hearts.
Here are 6 reasons, backed by rigorous research, to eat a family meal together every single day:
Promotes language skills.
Improved mental health, less likely to experience depression or drug use.
Bonded families. Families that eat together feel a strong bond and connection.
Better physical health.
Increased savings of money by eating at home.
I must give a special shout out to, and honoring recognition to my wonderful wife, Kathy for her dedication, sacrifice, hard work, and loving care put into her meals, as it was her devotion and wise menu planning that made the family meal tradition possible and something we all looked forward to.
I urge you all, in these crazy, busy, stress-filled times we live in, the single greatest and best thing you could do for your family life, is to start and keep sacred, your evening family mealtime. You will never, ever regret it and you will enjoy greater emotional well-being, improved mental health, greater physical health, greater emotional and spiritual connection, and improved feelings of belonging to the group of people that matters to you more than any others in the world!
Helping you become a Strong Disciple,
Because of Jesus,
Pastor Mark Darling