Shabbat Dinner

We all need a healthy dinner and time to savor it. Family dinner time is a sacred space to sit down together, to chat, to chew, to lean back in your  chair, (even when you’re told not to).

Sure I say all this, but do we do it? Last night, I ordered pork fried rice, chicken with broccoli and spicy dumplings from the Cottage. I grabbed a few bites. Then I yelled, “Chinese food on the kitchen table,” over my shoulder.

I was running out the front door as my three kids ran in. I was going to my non-fiction class. The kids were coming home from math club, play practice and track team. My husband was working. That is how we roll — busy, busy, busy.

I believe in family dinner time. I really do. So we started a Friday night dinner ritual. We’re Christian, but our ritual is based on the Jewish tradition of Shabbat dinner. (Thanks to my friend, Joe Little, who suggested this as we sat on the sidelines of our girls’ Westside basketball league and to my upstairs neighbor Ran, who has invited us to many Friday night Shabbat dinners over the years.)

On Friday nights, we turn off the computer screens and phones, we meet in the kitchen and light a candle or two, we drink grape juice, and someone cracks open the Bible (we use the brilliant translation, The Message by Eugene Peterson).

We usually read one of the Psalms, because they’re poetic, dramatic and understandable. It takes all of ten minutes, but it’s an awesome way to decompress from the week and enter the weekend. And then we have dinner and just hang out.

Last week, after our Shabbat prayer and dinner, we played the card game, Spoons. Then we watched a movie. No biggie, just chilled and relaxed.

We should have Shabbat again tonite, but one of my girls has a statewide math competition, the other is going on a sleepover, and my husband has rehearsal. That just leaves me and my son. It’s fine that it’s just the two of us.

We’ll light a candle, read the Psalms, and savor some left-over Chinese food.

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