Studies continue to show the importance of family meals. A University of Minnesota study found benefits included better grades, healthier eating habits, less depression, less obesity, and lower suicide rates.
The beginning of the Christian church, in Acts 2:42-46, showed that tremendous growth took place as people shared the Lord’s Supper and provides insight into the idea of the benefits of sharing faith at meals.
Impact of Breaking Bread Together
The people of the early church devoted themselves to breaking bread together, praying, and studying the apostles’ teachings. This daily routine took place both in homes and in the temple. God blessed this effort. Every day more people joined the church. The joy of sharing food and faith blended together well. Discussion of faith comes naturally with eating and mentioning prayer needs and answers.
Integrate faith at meals with prayer, sharing bread, and discussing a verse or passage from the Bible. Read a Bible verse and talk about what it means and how it can be applied in daily life. Open and close the meal with giving thanks for food and the day’s blessings. Add praises for answered prayers or ask each person to name a blessing from the day. And take things a step further with the other items placed on the table.
Family meals also provide an opportunity to connect to the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper. In the final chapter of the Gospel of John, after Jesus’ resurrection, one event surrounding a meal stands out. Jesus cooked fish and bread for the disciples and then ate it with them. At the end of the meal Jesus spoke and made plans. He questioned Peter’s love and asked him to shepherd His people.
Place bread on the table with each meal, on a special plate to symbolize the presence of Jesus of the Lord’s own description, “I am the Bread of life.” This could be as fancy as a silver platter or a simple paper plate decorated with bread symbols. Try setting out a fresh baked loaf that people must break. Bake it from scratch, buy it, or even pop a frozen loaf in the oven. Share what it means to call Jesus the Bread of Life and discuss passages on the Lord’s Supper and times that Jesus shared food with others.
Centerpieces That Express Faith
Advent wreaths make a centerpiece that draws a family to remembering the importance of Jesus at Christmas. Continue that concept with other centerpieces to reflect faith. Bring in nature of colored leaves, an arrangement of stones, or flowers as symbols to discuss creation. Place toy animals, boats, or dolls with bandages to bring up discussions of Noah, Jesus calming a storm, or a miraculous healing. A simple candle can symbolizes Jesus as the light of the world while a candle for each family member can be a reminder of the call to be lights for Jesus. Encourage children to connect a recent conversation about faith or an upcoming holiday to objects and create a special showpiece. Homemade centerpieces will add beauty and celebrate faith.
Families develop social skills and healthy eating habits while eating together. Children will also find completeness with integrating faith at meals.