“Let’s meet for coffee.” We say this all the time, but is it really about the coffee? When you go to lunch with your best friend, which is more important, the food or the conversation? It doesn’t really matter if it’s McNamara’s or McDonalds, coffee or cabernet; something important happens in our relationships when we’re eating and drinking.
What could be more basic to everyday life than enjoying a meal together? Yet we keep ourselves so busy that sit-down dinners are no longer a family value but instead have become nostalgic. Many people today, spend thousands of dollars upgrading to gourmet kitchens, only to make the microwave the most used appliance. The dining room table has been relegated to folding laundry and Thanksgiving dinner.
Growing up, I always envied my friends who got to eat dinner in their living room on TV trays. Now I’m reconsidering. I grew up in a big Italian family. When dinnertime came, the whole family gathered for the meal and the TV was always turned off. Thanks Mom and Dad, for making sit-down dinners a family value. Our nuclear family has grown and changed, but to this day, here’s how family gatherings on holidays work: We start with a meal, clean up after the meal together, take a walk together. Throw in some Italian songs and dancing in the kitchen while we prepare the next meal together. Repeat.
Jesus knows we open up to one another in a unique way when we break bread together.
He said “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20) In the final hours before His crucifixion, Jesus had a meal with his friends, we call the last supper. It is interesting that after his resurrection, almost every time we see Jesus, he is eating with his friends.
When Andee and I got married, we decided in order to stay connected; we’d have breakfast and dinner together. At 6:00AM we ask each other, “How can I pray for you today?” And at 6:00PM we catch up with one another on how the other’s day went. We’d rarely see each other in between those times, but we were still “together”. As we raised our children, mealtimes were always the important touch-points when our family would connect. We’d discuss everything from schoolwork to politics, to interpersonal relationships. We often read a devotional book after dinner and discussed whatever lesson we could draw out of a chapter. Whenever we had company, they’d join in the conversation. Andee and I have maintained this practice for 30 years through all the different stages of life, and it is still working.
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord. Psalm 128:1-4