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I remember over-hearing a lady talk about her “good dishes” and how she saved them for special guests and occasions when they ate in the dining room. On regular days, her family ate off of plastic picnic plates in the kitchen, just to be safe.
These “good dishes” she referred to weren’t priceless heirlooms or antiques, they were simply what I would call pretty dishes. This struck me as kind of strange. Why would you have to settle for “not good” plastic dishes every day and then only a couple of times a year when you had the “right guests” you could enjoy your “good” dishes in the dining room?
It seemed a little backwards to me. I mean, what was the worst that could happen if I used my “good” dishes on a regular day? Maybe a dish would break while we were eating tacos on an ordinary Tuesday. Yes, it could happen! But what if a dish didn’t break on a Tuesday and we enjoyed those good dishes for 365 days in a row? Hmmm…
It struck me if my good dishes were that irreplaceable, I had my priorities a wee bit off. If my pretty dishes had to be saved for “someday” with “special guests,” what message was I sending to my family about celebrating every day blessings? Is celebrating gratitude at the table something to be experienced only when everything is “perfect” and we have a special day set aside for it? I didn’t want hospitality or gratitude to be something we reserved for only when we had the perfect conditions.
I had so many blessings under my roof and around my table on ordinary week days, I wanted to acknowledge my thankfulness now! In fact, if I was blessed enough to even have “good dishes” I decided I was going to live as a rebel and set my table with good dishes any day of the year.
Blessings are meant to be noticed, shared, appreciated and celebrated. Always. Not just on special occasions.
I want to create a sense of gracious hospitality in our home and nurture gratefulness around our table more often than just when we have “the right guests” or the “perfect occasion.” Putting an extra measure of care and beauty into our every day moments, including setting our table with pretty dishes or inviting guests to our home even on ordinary days, is one way I remind our family how blessed we are by God every day in immeasurable ways.
Celebrating the every day blessings with the “good dishes” is a visual symbol to me, a way to cement that attitude of gratitude, hospitality and thanksgiving more deeply in our hearts.
It might be risky to set the table with the good dishes on ordinary Tuesdays (you never know what might happen!) but I think I’ll take that risk if it helps my family to remember how really blessed we are today.