Because we can truly gather anywhere and connect with others, I thought that instead of sharing a meal, I would share a simple, little dessert-ish treat.
I was talking to another mom at church a few weeks ago and somehow we got on the topic of dinnertime. She and I shared a similar memory of how our moms always had dinner on the table around a certain time, and that we all sat down to eat together as a family. But my friend was saying her husband didn’t grow up like that all – it was more of a fend for yourself or grab something quick while on the go kind of thing.
Sharing a Meal
I feel like this may be pretty typical of a lot of families – you either fall into one category or the other (or, perhaps, you try to fall into the first category while more commonly ending up in the second – been there!). In fact, when I was talking to another one of my friends last week (whose children are grown, married, and out of the house) she was telling me how she made it her intention to eat together as a family, no matter the circumstance. If her kids were in sports, she packed a meal to bring to practice or the game so they could still be together, eating as a family.
It’s true that gathering together at meal time takes a lot of intentional effort on the part of us parents (and it really does take a team effort here, husband and wife together). But even Jesus made a point of setting aside time to eat with others, such as when he spent three days healing, teaching and preaching to 4,000 people.
He took seven loaves of bread and a few small fish, and with the giving of thanks, fed 4,000 people until they were satisfied (Matthew 15:36 – for the better known “feeding of the 5,000”, look to Matt 14). What I love about this story is that they aren’t gathered around a table (though that would have been one impressive table!). They are all outside, eating together.
Focus on Gathering Together
My daughter Eden and her little friend next door recently did a similar thing. We had a rare dry and sunny day a few weeks back and Eden had been outside with her friend playing with chalk and running around for most of the afternoon. I just happened to be walking through the house when I heard voices in our front yard and when I looked out the window, they had taken a blanket and were sitting on it while they laughed and ate kettle corn, carrot sticks, and Gatorade out of a picnic basket. They stopped playing and took time to gather around a blanket and share a little meal. I just loved that image of the two of them.
Jesus spent his last hours with His disciples reclining at a table sharing a meal with them before going to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray (John 26:20), an opportunity to impart His last teachings to them.
Where you gather together isn’t as important as the gathering itself, the communion and fellowship you share with others. Gathering together for a meal can be as simple as sitting around a hospital room bed snacking on whatever is around while you visit or encourage someone. Or around the coffee table for bible study, for a movie with friends, or, more recently in my family’s case, because the dining room was under construction!
Why We Should Gather as a Family
I recently asked my kids why they enjoyed gathering together as a family and here are the reasons they gave me:
- Connect with family. We all go around the table and talk about what the kids did during school, books they read or funny things one of them said. This gives Josh and I a chance to update each other on our respective days, too!
- Slow down and enjoy your food. This is the time when everyone takes a moment to appreciate the food they’re eating. To appreciate the time that went into preparing it, not rush through every bite, but to savor the flavors. It’s also time to express appreciation to the person who took time to make the food. While that person is most commonly me, it’s very often Josh or Grace as well.
- Fellowshipping. If your family is anything like ours, then you may find it difficult to find time in the day when everyone is together to read the Bible. For us, we’ve found that dinner time is our sweet spot. It’s just before bedtime, but we’re not in a rush to get there. When the kids set the table every night, they always set out Josh’s Bible by his place setting. We usually don’t begin reading until we’re all close to being done eating. I love when Josh reads from the Bible because he doesn’t rush the process. He takes his time, asking the kids questions about what they think certain verses mean or asking for their thoughts. We just finished reading the Book of Acts, which we started back in September, and we’ve moved onto Romans, at Eden’s suggestion (and because it’s next!).
Share a Snack!
We can truly gather anywhere and connect with others. I thought that instead of sharing a meal, I would share a simple, little dessert-ish treat. These healthy cookies are delicious and filled with all sorts of good-for-you ingredients. Ingredients like shredded carrots, apples, nuts, and dried berries. These would make a perfect after school snack to be shared at the kitchen counter with your kids and a glass of milk or an after dinner treat. Or, perhaps you can gift a plateful to a neighbor or take a batch to Bible study!
Of course, you could be like Eden and her friend, and spread a blanket out on the lawn and share a few laughs while you enjoy a cookie or two. That would be about perfect.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ½ cup shredded apple
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar and melted butter. Then beat in the egg with a fork.
- Stir the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until the batter is smooth. The stir in the oats, shredded carrots, apple, walnuts, and dried berries.
- Using a cookie scoop, roll cookies into a ball and place on cookie sheet about ½ inch apart.
- Bake for 8-15 minutes, until they just begin to turn golden brown on top. Leave them on the baking sheet for an additional 2 minutes before moving them to a wire rack.