Tables of Our Lives
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because it is the gathering of family and friends around a table full of delicious food. At that table we share a meal, our lives, and our love. The Thanksgiving table blends together all we hold precious and dear without the mask of commercialism. The focus is not on gifts, but on the simple things of life: God, a meal, family, friends, memories, and blessings. The Thanksgiving table provides physical nourishment, emotional encouragement, and spiritual appreciation to God and others who have made an impact in our lives. Thus, the Thanksgiving table is a constant reminder or God’s grace and goodness.
Sometimes, some of the best memories are made right in front of us- as we sit around a table. There is something about sitting around a table and eating a meal that connects people. I remember the meals that I had in Ukraine and other parts of Europe that lasted 3 or 4 hours. These times, at homes and restaurants, did not exist to merely digest food, but to digest life. In the article, “The Joy of Food,” the author makes this very insightful statement, “Food is more than survival. With it we make friends, court lovers, and count our blessing.”
Isn’t it interesting, that throughout the Bible, God uses a meal as an important aspect of learning, caring, and loving. It was around a meal where the first sin occurred (apple); it was around the Passover meal where God’s people would remember their deliverance from Egypt; it was around a meal where Jesus, the Son of God, met with sinners and tax-collectors (Mk 2:12); it was around a meal where Mary anointed the feet of Jesus (Jn 12:3); it was around a meal where Jesus revealed to the disciples that one would betray Him (Mk 14:18); it was around a meal (Last Supper) where communion would be instituted; it was around a meal where Jesus met with Peter in John 21 to restore him; and it was around meals that united the early church, “And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” (Acts 2:46). There is some type of spiritual connection with sitting around a table and enjoying a meal that brings people together.
Sitting down at a table is so meaningful, because so much happens in our lives around a table of food. As a child, the table was a place to receive physical nourishment, but as we grow older the table becomes a different place. It is a place where we appease our physical appetite, but also where we appease our soul. I found that around tables much more than food is consumed; stories are told, ideas are discovered, feelings are shared, art is displayed, burdens are uncovered, counsel is given, tears are cried, prayers are lifted up; and love is dispensed. One might say that the meal table is one of the most important places for human interaction. Some of our best memories are centered around a table: the dinner table where a family can share daily stories; the holiday table where family comes together for joy and laughter; the dinner party table where friends spend endless hours of sharing, laughing, and even crying; the romantic table where we dine under a beautiful sunset with food, wine, and love; the business table that paves the way for ideas to become reality; and the counseling table where burdens and challenges open the door for self-discovery and healing. But most of all, the table is a means of God revealing His countless blessing upon us through food, fellowship, support, and love.
This year, as we gather with friends and family around the Thanksgiving table, remember how blessed we are to have such wonderful and delicious food to eat. Remember how blessed we are to have family and friends. Remember how blessed we are to have been touched by those who are now gone. Remember how blessed we are to have eternal life and a spiritual heritage. And remember how blessed we are to have a God who would creatively use a wooden object called a table.
-Pastor Mike Kotrla