The last two weeks of 2016 were full of family, snuggles, long days in pajamas and so many treats.
So many treats.
I love the hibernation mode that we fall into as a family during the holidays. We play more. We stay up later. We sleep in later (thank you, Jesus).
We linger longer over dinner.
One night — I’m not sure which, because don’t they all blend together the week between Christmas and the new year? — it was my turn to pray before dinner. I asked God to help the four of us become more like Jesus.
My newly-five-year-old son asked afterward why we’d want to be like Jesus.
“Because, Buddy, that’s the whole point. That’s why He came to earth on Christmas.”
Then my newly-seven-year-old daughter asked, “What is the main purpose of us being here?”
There was a pause so she reworded the question.
“What’s the main reason we’re down here and not in heaven?”
Oh, dear Jesus. These conversations really do happen.
“The main purpose is to choose God, Baby. To love Him and to tell others about His love.”
I have no idea if what I’m saying passes muster.
Then my son pipes up again.
“Jesus is God.”
Then my husband joins in.
“Yes, and He came to show us how to live.”
Back to the first born.
“We have to choose Him,” she says.
Here’s my truth about the daily grind that is preparing, serving, and cleaning up family dinner each evening. I don’t love to cook on weeknights. I want to come home and pour everyone a bowl of cereal. Some nights I’d even prefer that we all part ways so I can eat in silence.
But I know there’s a better way. The habit of gathering for dinner every night to thank God for what He provides, and talk about our lives, opens the door to the most significant acts of love we can offer one another. Listening to each other, showing compassion and care for the hurts, celebrating the day’s wins — these don’t happen without regularly setting time for souls to mingle.
Another truth about dinnertime at our house is that our kitchen table only seats four. Barely.
We don’t have a dining room, and I can’t host dinner parties or afternoon teas or anything that requires a group to gather around a table.
However, over the past two years here at Grace Table, I’ve learned that the work of hospitality won’t be diminished when we’re intentional with the space we do have. Four souls gather around our table every evening, and some nights we break bread and break open the very heart of the matter. We slather butter, and we scatter grace. Love comes down, and the Holy Spirit breathes life into the conversation.
Some seasons hospitality looks like squeezing around the table and answering the searching questions of little minds. That’s the season we’re in, so we’ll keep meeting around our small table and living this life out. Together.