Friday, January 22, 2010

Overflow from the Dining Room Table

I like traditions. Both my husband and I grew up eating dinner every night around a table. It was a non-negotiable event. No music. No TV. Everyone who was home was seated around the table. Still when we gather with extended family, much reminiscing and laughter happens around the table. We do this now with our four children -- dinner every night around the table.

I like tradition. I grew up in a liturgical church that celebrated Advent with candles. Occasionally the church I attend now does an Advent wreath. When I saw Leila and Joanne celebrating Advent around their own dining room table, I knew I wanted to implement this, too. (Okay, I know that Christmas is done but my blog was just born!)

So I put together the Advent wreath above with supplies from home and what I couldn't find at home, I found at the Dollar Store. Whenever we were home for a regular meal during those four weeks before Christmas (there seem to be a lot of non-normal meals throughout the season), we would light the candles, sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel and read the suggested Scripture (from a bookmark I downloaded from Joanne's blog). After reading the Scripture, we would sing another Christmas carol or two based on the passage.

One night we read the familiar Luke 2:8-14 passage. And the obvious song choice was Joy from the Seeds Project that put Luke 2:8-14 to music. As we listened to it, tears began to trickle down my cheeks. I looked at my husband. He had tears, too. The song emphasized the joy and the peace that was ours because Jesus was born. We sang this song several times during Advent.

Then, the kids decided they wanted us all to sing the song for the extended family on Christmas eve. So we did. Kip learned the guitar chords. We played and sang from the overflow of our dining room table. Nothing fancy. Not the best performance in the world. Not for the stage. But six hearts praising God.

I heard the Christmas message in a new way this year. At my own home. At my own dining room table. We meditated on the Joy that will be for all people and peace to us.

Not that it happens all of the time. Most of the time the dining room table is loud. Requests for more food, not for this food. Squabbles between the siblings. My table is like your table. I just took a few moments do something else here and there. It would get late. The kids would complain and ask "Why are we singing this?" "Do we have to keep singing this?" But as I am still treasuring this Christmas moment from the overflow of the dining room table, it makes all the meal efforts worth it.

It encourages me to keep pressing on in the midst of the squabbles, the complaints and the mundane. To add a sparkle here and there. We didn't do all of our Christmas traditions. We didn't keep up as well with our usual Advent calendar or make Christmas cookies.

But we did sing as a family from the overflow of our dining room table where the praise started. And somehow that seems right and worth it all.


  1. How fun and a great memory. I thought of doing the advent candles with the girls, but we like to blow candles out around here (a lot!) and decided this wasn't the year to struggle with that. :)

  2. Yes, the candles become very important. We took turns lighting and blowing them out so there wasn't a fight each time this took place! A time and place for everything. Thanks for commenting, friend.

  3. Very cool, Kath. I didn't grow up thinking much or learning anything about Advent, so it's all kind of new to me, but Sarah's really into it, so she's influenced me somewhat. Look forward to hearing more from you on your blog!

    love, R


Thanks for being part of the conversation...I love hearing from you. Kathleen

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