When I was little we said grace ‘jingles’ before our meals like, “God is great, God is good let us thank him for our food.” Today, my husband usually says an impromptu grace and, in our family, we like to hold hands.
I love the habit we have and how it draws us together as a family, focusing our hearts on being thankful. Grace reminds us that ‘apart from God, we have no good thing.’
‘Saying grace’ or ‘saying the blessing’ refers to the custom of thanking God for the meal. It’s hard to say where grace began as most religious practices share this common heritage. Jesus taught the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread” and it was his common practice to thank God before meals, “before he fed them he broke the bread and gave thanks to God for it (Matthew 14:19).”
Our family gatherings bring in quite a mix of people so our holidays generate an array of experiences around grace: from meaningful to awkward. My favorite movie scene is
from ‘Meet the Parents’ where the main character prays a lengthy prayer with all sorts of random quotes thrown in!
Here are some tips to help with grace:
- If you disagree with the hosts’ faith, you can quietly ponder your own thoughts during their prayer (such as recalling your own grateful list).
- If you are hosting and want to delegate saying grace, ask someone to do it in advance (vs. on the spot).
- Make sure everyone is ready and paying attention so they can join in.
- Avoid disrupting grace or cutting it off prematurely.
- Since you’re going to the effort of saying grace, make it meaningful.
In thinking about our business with Dream Dinners, I must close by telling you what I’m grateful for… I get to do what I love by helping families gather together around a meal. I hope your meals are a place where your children and grandchildren are blessed by your attention, where everyone knows they belong, and where you experience outbursts of laughter and joy in a cozy familiar setting – your family table.
I’m grateful for you,
Stephanie Allen is Co-founder and President of Dream Dinners and a New York Times best-selling co-author of The Hour that Matters Most. Naturally a visionary and optimist, Stephanie hopes to inspire America through her nurturing voice of encouragement, assuring families…
“You’re doing a great job!”