The Reyes family dinner table has evolved over the years. When the twins were newborns, I was amazed at how these normally content babies timed their cries with the first bite of dinner. No sooner did we sit down to eat when somebody needed our attention. To this day I attribute my speed eating ability to this phase in their lives. Then there was the period when the boys decided they wouldn’t eat vegetables anymore. Dinner became an unpleasant festival of the wills, so to speak. As they grew older, the family dinner resembled a marathon of “eat as fast as possible” so we can get back to moving around. It was so hard for these little guys to sit still to eat.
Growing up in the Cannon household, one of my favorite memories of home was family dinner. We all love to communicate, so dinner was a wonderful time of discussion, debate, laughter, and real family bonding. I have always been persuaded about the importance of family dinner. Now that the boys are older, eating vegetables, and growing in self-control, Jason and I are trying to use dinner-time intentionally in the building of our family. Jason is leading the family in our New Year’s resolution to grow in gratitude this year, so at the table we aim to stimulate conversation around what blessings we are grateful for today. He has also begun reading the book, Training Hearts, Teaching Minds after we eat.
So we started our more intential approach to family dinner this past week. God kindly provided help through His Word. I read in Ezra 3 that when the people rebuilt the foundation of the new temple, there were two reactions: one group rejoiced, worshiped, shouted for joy; the other group wept, wailed, and mourned. The notes in my Bible make the following comments: The tears of the older members of the community were not tears of joy, but tears of disappointment because of the contrast between this small beginning, and the splendor of Solomon’s temple. (3:12)”
What does this have to do with the Reyes’ family dinner? I have to ask myself if I rejoice in small beginnings, or lament the fact that our family dinners aren’t like the ones I grew up with. There is so much to rejoice and be grateful in. Yes, it is a small beginning – we aren’t talking of the deep things of God yet. We do have to teach our boys how to think beyond, “I’m grateful for my toys” to see how God has interacted with them on this particular day. We do have to say repeatedly, “sit down, please,” “say excuse me,” “stop playing with your food.” It might not look like my mom’s dinner table, but we are following in my parent’s footsteps: building, by God’s grace, brick by brick, a family that will one day be monument to the glory of God. I want to rejoice in this small beginning.
Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “for He is good,for His steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”
And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.
What small beginning are you rejoicing in today?