How lovely is it when you don’t have to cook for the evening meal – particularly if it is just you at home, or if you are going through a difficult season, or if your kids are sick, or your finances are so tight that feeding your family is a struggle right now, or simply because you are exhausted?
I know that as much as I love to cook, there are times when to sit down to a meal that I don’t have to make – one which has been lovingly prepared for me and my family and is nourishing, tasty and (in my case gluten free) suitable for our needs – is such a blessing.
The expression of love and care, that receiving a thoughtfully prepared meal conveys is not to be underestimated. Jesus loved food – he was always eating something, or sharing a meal with people, because as well as being a fundamental physical need, the joy of eating good food with good company – fills more than an aching belly, it fills our hearts too.
So maybe with the various social distancing rules in your area, you cannot have someone round to dinner in the same way, but you can plan ahead and make up double or triple quantities of a meal you are going to have this week, and take it round to someone who would be really blessed by a drive-by meal drop.
It’s also important to do your best to consider any dietary requirements – we were once brought round a huge pasta bake after we lost our baby daughter, by some very kind people, but the meal was far too salty for my young children and I cannot eat wheat without a very painful stomach. I hated wasting both the food and their kindness, but as four out of five of us couldn’t eat it we had to leave most of it, and I felt guilty rather than blessed.
It doesn’t have to be hard, just do a little planning to find out, then cook something which is suitable for most people in the family if not everyone, and consider a separate little something for the one who needs a bit more care – you extended thoughtfulness will speak volumes of love and care, making them feel known and accepted for where they are at.
If your family is struggling financially, you can still share a little of what you do have – God will always bless a cheerful giver, and he can multiply the reach of even the little we are able to offer – as shown in the case of the boy’s measly five loaves and two fish – shared with over five thousand people (Matthew 14:13-21), or like the widow of Zarephath, using the last of her oil and flour to share with Elijah the prophet (1Kings 17:7-16) both in the bible.
So who do you know of who lives alone, or who is perhaps having a hard time with sickness or finances or their mental health or are simply overwhelmed?
Take them a meal and bless them this Advent.