Friday, June 12, 2009

The Family Dinner Table - Family Time

TIME TO EAT!!! I love to hear those words after a long day. Those three words echoing through the house mean it is family time in the Hill house. This is one of my favorite times of the day for several reasons. The family dinner table is place of communion, fellowship, and a means of reconnecting with the people I love dearly. Early on in our marriage Lisa came to me and asked, "can we always eat dinner together?" A little surprised at that request because I thought all families ate together I said, "sure no problem." After further inquiry, she expounded and told me she just wanted to be sure we did things that kept our family together. God knows that food brings people together. In Acts 2:46, 47 eating from house to house was one of the key elements to keep the church together. If it works for the Church, how much more will it keep a family together and reinforce the parental and sibling bonds in a family. It seems like the larger our family grows the richer our family time gets. Although eating is a given at the table, over the years we have attached other traditions along with eating that have equal if not a greater importance. It has truly turned into a time where we not only connect with each other, but we also connect with God.

So many essential components that keep a family strong happen around the dining room table. I am completely aware that every family has their own traditions. But Lisa and I wanted to have traditions that spoke our hearts and that kept Jesus in the center of our family. Five things that have developed in our family over the years are:

1. We Sing-First thing we do is sing praises. We sing a lot of hymns and biblically rich choruses around the table. I am not sure we would win a dove award for our singing but everyone from the babies up to the parents join in and sing. Occasionally one of the boys will have learned a song on the piano and we will sing along with that. Be careful if you are one of our guest we will hand you one of our Hill song books for you to sing along.

2. We Pray-We pray for more than our food. Typically one of the children beg to pray. We have some long winded prayers and some that are short and sweet. But we teach our children to pray from their heart versus a memorized chant.

3. We eat-During our eating I must say we do break some of the rules of manners. There is so much talking and laughing, I am sure we talk with our mouths full. We buckle down when it is time for me to inquire about what everyone did during the day and what they learned at school. During that time we try and work on proper speaking, eye contact and their overall mannerisms.

4. We read the Bible-I will have to blog about my struggle for consistent bible devotions on
another post. But we finally found our family niche. Most times we just push the plates aside (to be cleared later) and open our Bibles. We strive for five chapters a week. Some weeks are good and some are not so good. But the net effect is glorious. Any child that can even partially read gets to participate in reading God’s word. Of course we all chip in on expounding on the word and stating what it means to us, that is where the life application takes place at any age level.

5. We Pray, confess, and repent to God and each other-We end by allowing everyone that desires, a chance to respond to the word. From Ju-Jude our three year old on up to the parents. I am telling you the word of God is so alive and active, to see the response of the young children to the word is mouth dropping.

This special Family meal time has helped Lisa and I as parents when dealing with sibling rivalry, name calling, pouting, laziness, salvation, lying, and on and on. It is so amazing what happens to our hearts when we, day after day, verse after verse, chapter after chapter, book after book slowly read through God’s word together as a family (Old and New Testament). Some days we are all done with everything in 30 minutes some days we sit and talk for three hours and no one wants to leave.

IT TIME TO EAT!!! Is a sacred trumpet call in the Hill house. Our family table has become our family worship altar before the Lord.

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