Sharing a Meal

We're back into the rush and hurry of the school year. Soccer games started Saturday and hockey practice starts tonight. Our first Girl Scout meeting is next week, and AWANA gears up in two weeks.

After a summer with few regular activities, it's taking me a while to get used to the constant scramble.  Wondering if I can magically split myself in two so I can get my oldest to soccer practice and my youngest to hockey practice when they start 10 minutes apart on opposite sides of town is becoming a regular occurrence. Figuring out how to squeeze in a family dinner at least three to four nights a week is tough.

It would be easy to throw up my hands and announce that I'm simply going to make a meal and everyone can eat it when they are home. Some nights, that's what I do. There's simply no way to make sure we all sit down to eat together if we want the kids in bed before 10 p.m. But most nights, I fight the good fight to make sure everyone has something nutritious to eat and that we eat it together.

Whether it's breakfast, dinner or a late snack, eating a meal together is important. It gives us the chance to sit down together as a family unit. It offers us an opportunity to learn about what others were doing when we were apart. It gives everyone a chance to give their opinion on current events and others' problems. And it offers us a chance to laugh together as a family.

Too often, it's too easy to give up on trying to have a family meal every night. Schedules are crazy. Mom or dad has to work late. It's hard to find something everyone likes. But a family meal draws your family together. It's worth the effort to make it a regular occurrence.

Jesus often used mealtime to counsel His disciples. One of the most important conversations Jesus had with His disciples came over a meal. "When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.'" (Luke 22:14-16)

Jesus went on to use the entire meal as an object lesson of his death and resurrection for the disciples. Jesus knew that gathering the disciples around the table created a moment of intimacy, and it focused their attention.

Make an effort to make family mealtime a priority. It's an important piece of the day that offers time for teaching, sharing and fun. It draws your family closer. Jesus knew that gathering people around a table offered an opportunity to love them and teach them. View your table as Jesus viewed His -- as a place where your kids can be loved and taught.

Even when the schedule gets stuffed and it seems hard, don't give up on family mealtimes. They are worth more than you can imagine.