One of my favorite times of the day is when our family sits down for dinner. My daughter sets the table with napkins and placemats I've made from my favorite fabrics plus 3 forks for dad, a tiny tea cup for mom, plates, and viola!
We light a candle and say the same blessing I have been saying since I was in kindergarten:
"Earth who gives to us this food,
Sun that makes it ripe and good,
Dear earth, dear sun, by you we live,
Our loving thanks to you we give"
Sharing food, talking, silence, laughter. The family table is a metaphor for a complex, sweet, and complicated life. Sometimes we bubble over with things to share, other times we are so distracted by our own thoughts, we say almost nothing. Still other times, these shared times at the table lead to the big questions, like "How did I get into your belly?"
I had a family dinner ritual in my own family growing up and I looked forward to the six of us gathering around the table every night. It was a little square table, and my sister and I shared one side, and my brothers were on the other, with my dad and my step mom at the ends. The table was full of plates, dishes, glasses of milk, and delicious food. The table was small but it felt cozy and abundant.
They were loud times, laughing times, and I remember them being the times when important things got asked in my childhood too, like "Why do people wear crosses? (forgive my pagan parents) and what do they mean?"
What rituals do you have around the family dinner?