Every night around our dinner table we do two things (other than eat food, of course). We start with a prayer where we give thanks. We thank God for His provision in our lives, for the food before us, and the family and friends around the table. No matter what the day’s been like, we try to bring it to a close with thankfulness.
The second thing we do every night is “Favourite Part of the Day!” I can’t remember how the tradition started, but whoever mentions “Favourite Part of the Day” as we’re finishing our food, they’re the one that has to start. The rules are simple: pick your favourite part of the day and share it at the table for all to hear. Only one — but there are many occasions where two or three things get woven into the story.
Why do we do this? Our family has a full life, as I am sure many of you do as well. A full life isn’t a bad life, especially when it’s filled with what you love to do, but it can still have seasons that are challenging, as I am sure you have also experienced. In some of our more challenging seasons, or difficult moments, we all felt it was important to take time at the end of a long day and share the good things around the table. Sharing a good story or testimony can not only shift your focus, but it can also bring lightness and life to those who are hearing it.
How does it work? We just start. Someone says, “What’s your favourite part of the day?” It doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes it’s as simple as one of my girls mentioning that someone said “hi” in the hallway at school, or that the dog did something funny on their walk. My wife and I, on occasion, have said our favourite part of the day will be bed time — especially when the day has been a tougher one. When guests come over we introduce them to the tradition and it’s always amazing to watch people mentally recap their day and then try to squeeze something good out of it.
Let’s be honest though: if you stop and think for a moment, I am sure you can find at least one good thing from your day, even on the worst days. Maybe you saw a chipmunk run across the road, someone trip while they were trying to take a selfie, or you witnessed an act of kindness because you were in the right place at the right time.
So, how does this all wrap up into faith? For me, anyway, it all comes together because I often need to reach beyond myself for strength and hope. The world is challenging at times, and all the stuff that’s going on can put a real damper on our joy. We can go from living vibrantly to suddenly seeing everything in pastel-tones, and that’s not fun. Usually, on a daily basis, I need to reach out and say, “Lord, give me Your strength and Your peace to make it through the day. Thank You for being with me. Please allow me to find joy in the little things.”
It’s with this prayer that I’m often reminded to look up and look out at all that’s around us, where I have a chance to find a favourite part of my day.
I hope you enjoy the tradition, and I hope that it can be a gift from our family to yours.
James McFaddin is the pastor of New Life Church in Castlegar.