On evenings when our family is home, one of our favorite things to do is to host guests for dinner.  We figure if we are going to make and eat dinner anyway, what better way to do it then in the company of old friends or in the process of getting to know new ones!  As our family has grown in number and body size, seating with dinner guests has become a tighter and tighter squeeze.  Although we don’t mind being in close quarters with friends and know that good conversation and fun can be had around any size table, we decided it might be a good time to invest in a bigger one. 
In December, with the help of the Miller woodworking genes, ideas from a variety of firehouse dining tables, the borrowed (and coveted) tools in his Dad’s workshop, and the company of a few good Audible books, Luke solved our problem by building a beautiful, sturdy oak table.   In conjunction with getting our new table, we were also given the idea of a new tradition…having guests sign the table’s underside after eating a meal on it.  Although it can be awkwardly difficult for guests to contort their bodies in the right position to sign, we have found this tradition to be both fun and meaningful for us and our guests alike. (See picture of our friend Mark and his daughter Finley signing below). 
I know we are not to treasure things on earth, like tables and such, “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).  But since the table’s completion and placement in our home, I have found myself treasuring the times that have been and will be had around it.  I treasure the “hi’s and low’s” shared by each person at dinner which gives us a window into the joys and challenges of each other’s lives.  I cringe at the battles fought over how many bites the kids have to eat before they can clear their plate or have dessert, but treasure the lessons this teaches Luke and me of patience and persistence and the lessons it hopefully teaches our children of thankfulness and respect.     I treasure the new friendships forged and the old bonds strengthened by conversation and laughter over many shared meals to come.   I treasure that each name written on our table represents a beautiful, unique, and intricate person with whom God, in his perfect plan, placed into our lives for reasons more glorious than I will probably ever know. 
I have heard that across all cultures, gathering around a table to share a meal is a powerful expression of welcoming and friendship.  Although Luke and I are no master chefs and dinners may sometimes be underdone, overcooked, crazy, unorganized, and chaotic, my prayer is that our guests at our table will always feel like loved and welcomed friends.  Dinner anyone? 

By Katie Miller

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