Friday, August 28, 2009

It's More Than Just Sunday Dinner

"Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm; But it was your own eyes that saw all these great things the Lord has done." (Deuteronomy 11:2,7)

Tagging along at the end of the baby boomers I barely recall the significant days of the free-lovin', drug tokin', party hoppin', bell-bottom wearin' generation. The closest I came to resembling anything from the '60's was the one pair of brown bell-bottom, hip-hugger jeans I wore that sported huge, white daisies all over them. Thank goodness I grew out of those in a year!

The '60's may have been a tumultuous decade, but as a kid, I never knew it. It's not that my family resembled the Cleavers from the '50's reruns of "Leave it to Beaver" on T. V. where life was never more difficult than a bad grade on a report card! But, like them, we'd gathered 'round the Sunday dinner table to share life and a good meal with those we loved most. Although we didn't live close to many relatives, my parents grew to love a few friends near by as though they were family. It was with those dear friends that we'd gather every week. We'd reconnect on every level from worshiping together to sharing stories over dessert or washing dishes.

When my own children started marrying, moving out of the house, and establishing families of their own I realized staying connected had to be a deliberate action. I didn't want to be that control freak mom or, God forbid, that overbearing mother-in-law but I did want to see my kids and grandchildren often. Even though I don't find joy in cooking, I do enjoy my children. So, hanging onto my Sunday dinner memories, I thought, "If you feed them, they will come," and I asked my kids if they'd like to establish a Sunday dinner tradition. Surprisingly, everyone looked forward to it.

Our first family Sunday dinner was last fall and except for an occasional weekend trip or event, our kids haven't missed a beat since! We've come to covet our time together and don't let anything take its place. When someone does have to miss out or come late, there's a heavy heart because this family connection has come to mean so much. We've establish a home; a place where we can be ourselves, share our hearts, our faith, tell stories from the past, dream about the future and everyone knows they're safe and they're loved.

God created life around family. He gave us the desire to make family connections from the very beginning of time. It's through the family that He intended His story to be shared with the next generation.

I cringe when I hear parent's say, "I don't want to force my religion (faith) on my kids. When they get older, they can decide for themselves if they believe in God, or not." My question for them is, "How can they believe in what they've never known?" How will they know unless we teach them?

Children learn everything by what we say and do; by what we don't say and don't do. The message of our lives, our beliefs are crystal clear to them. God knew this. That's why, in Deuteronomy, He says, "...your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of God...but it was your own eyes..."! In other words, our children won't grow up knowing God's story unless they hear it from us! What better time to share our faith than over a meal?

It's more than just Sunday dinner that holds our family together. It's our common bond of faith in God woven into everything we do.

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