Keeping a Beautiful Table

As discussed in the article: Setting the Table: A Sacred Act of Love and Connection, setting a beautiful table for at least one meal a day has multiple benefits.

However, we are all busy. Each day is full and that requires us to have plans in place for getting a nourishing meal on the table each day, as well as making a beautiful table easy to set.

I have found that having certain tools in place, make table-setting a breeze for company as well as for our regular family dinner.

  1. Maintain a Beautiful Table Throughout the Day: Keeping a table with a centerpiece and linens is essential for creating a lovely setting for each meal. On our dining room table, I always have three large farmhouse-style candles. Additionally, I use a burlap table runner or placemats to add visual interest. Having consistent linens and a centerpiece ensures that our dining table looks sharp all day and remains inviting for every meal we share there.
  2. Tidy Up After Table Activities: Since we use all the tables in our home for homeschool lessons, sewing projects, and crafts, I make sure at least one table is clean for eating. I encourage my children to put away their materials when they’re done. After school, the books find their place, and completed projects are stored away.
  3. Adornments for Our Table: Our typical table decorations include candles, fabric, and flowers. Lighting candles during family meals creates a cozy atmosphere and encourages conversation. I also like to forage around the yard for foliage to adorn the table. Seasonal flowers, holly, or even cherry blossom branches (when our tree blooms) all add a touch of natural beauty. Fabric is essential for completing the table’s look—I’m content with hemp placemats, but a simple table runner or a more formal tablecloth works equally well.
  4. Cloth Napkins Are a Must: A decade ago, I switched to using cloth napkins. Not only do they elevate an ordinary table setting, but they also save money. We no longer need to buy paper napkins, which adds up over time. I can reuse cloth napkins for each meal, assigning the same one to each person’s spot.
  5. Tableware should match napkins the regular setting. While I initially loved stoneware, the wear and tear from our children led me to switch to a pretty Corelle set. The comfort of knowing that a dropped plate won’t chip or shatter is reassuring. Although I do have some fine china my husband gifted me, I reserve it for special occasions due to the hand-washing requirement. Overall, a quality set of tableware can be chosen to coordinate with table linens and accessories, completing the look for every meal without the need for separate dishes.

Having these things in place, makes setting a table for dinner each evening a breeze. The table invites people to sit around it at all times, whether to share a cup of coffee or tea or spread out and spend time studying the Bible.

Setting the Table: A Sacred Act of Love and Connection

I am working on the teaching my children to value of a beautifully set table. In a day when efficiency is valued over being slow and still, a nicely set table is becoming a thing we reserve for special occasions. I consider sitting down to a beautifully set table an important value to instill in their lives.

The reasons for setting a beautiful table are many, but for me, it narrows to about seven different reasons.

1. Slowing Down in Our Busy Lives: In our modern, fast-paced lives, moments of stillness are rare. Sitting at a well-set table provides a deliberate pause—a chance to step away from the chaos and focus on nourishing both our bodies and our souls. It’s a reminder that life isn’t just about rushing from one task to another; it’s about savoring the simple pleasures.

2. Encouraging Lingering and Fellowship: A beautiful table is an invitation to connect with others, share stories, and truly be present. When we sit down with loved ones, the table becomes a space for laughter, heartfelt conversations, and the weaving of memories. Instead of rushing through a meal, we engage in conversation, share stories, and connect with those at the table with us.

3. Thoughtful Eating and Tasting: A nicely set table encourages us to slow down, chew thoughtfully, and appreciate the symphony of flavors in each dish. It’s a practice that nourishes not only our bodies but also our minds. We would probably eat less food, with more appreciation than grabbing something to chew on as we go, or eat while watching TV, not really tasting what is in our mouth or noticing when we have had enough.

4. Feeling Loved and Appreciated: When someone takes the time to set a table for us, it’s an act of care. It says, “You matter. Your presence matters.” Whether it’s a family member, friend, or host, this gesture creates a warm and welcoming environment.

5. Practicing Good Manners: Teaching children good table manners is a valuable life lesson. It’s about respect—for others, for the food, and for the shared experience. Simple acts like not talking with a full mouth or waiting your turn to speak demonstrate consideration for those around us. And those values can be best taught and practiced around a nicely set table, rather than in the car or flopped in front of the TV.

6. Preparation is a Sacred Time: As I chop vegetables or stir a pot, I am able to thank the Lord for His gracious provision for our family. Each step becomes an opportunity for prayer and gratitude.

  • Praying for Fellowship: Preparing a meal for someone goes beyond the physical act of cooking. As I cook, I often find myself praying for the upcoming fellowship around our table.
  • Blessing Each Spot: I like to pray for each person as I set the table. Even if it is just my own children, I can pray for their hearts and minds as I set their plate down.

7. A prepared table is a picture of eternity. We get so little of heaven here on earth, but sitting around a table once a day with those we love is one of those moments. Throughout Scripture, there are promises of a grand feast—a celebration of God’s redemption and restoration. Isaiah 25:6 beautifully describes this future banquet: “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines.” This eschatological feast represents the ultimate fulfillment of God’s plan. It’s a celebration of victory over death, the removal of sorrow, and the wiping away of tears (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 19:6-9).

God’s preparation extends beyond physical tables and banquets. He prepares a place for us in eternity. Jesus assured His disciples in John 14:2-3: “In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

God’s preparation encompasses both earthly and heavenly dimensions. As we anticipate the future feast in His kingdom, let us also emulate His love by preparing for others in our daily lives.

She Laughs at The Time to Come

As December 1999 unfolded,  I was a sophomore college student. Y2K bug loomed, and many people, including my family, were preparing for the worst.

Even though I planned to return to college in the spring, I packed every bit of everything that I owned from my dorm room. Just in case the theory was right, and the world turned up-side-down in a few more weeks, I would not have to worry about anything left behind at college.

I stayed up until midnight with my siblings as the new year rolled over. My parents, seasoned by life’s uncertainties, had stocked up on wheat berries, frozen foods, and heirloom seeds. Their pantry sagged under the weight of preparedness. We were not alone; thousands shared our concern, hoarding canned goods and bottled water, bracing for the impending collapse of infrastructure.

By God’s grace, life went on. I graduated from college, married, and became a mother.

Then we hit 2012. As a young mother, I fretted about the Mayan calendar. Would the ancient prophecies come true? But the clock struck midnight, and once again, God’s grace provided humanity with more time.

In 2014, another wave of foreboding washed over us. Changes, doom, cataclysms—the headlines screamed. Yet by God’s grace the earth continued to spin and I continued to breathe.

It was at this time in my life, that my relationship with fear of the world’s future came to a sudden and permanent halt.

Isaiah 8:12-13, was shared to me by a dear older friend, on evening as I spilled out my fears to her.  In that passage, Isaiah tells God’s people

“Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it. But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”

Fear of the future is not a biblical fear. To see that my fears were not only unfounded, but misplaced was a great gift to my soul.

Conspiracy theorists are all over the internet now. Last week, as I read about the upcoming solar eclipse, my browser filled up very quickly with scared people, scaring other people about various conspiracies and theories of destruction of the world. And what once might have swallowed me in is something that now gives me no concern. I laughed. 

In Proverbs 31, we read about the embodiment of wisdom in the image of Lady Wisdom. In that passage, Lady Wisdom is said to “laugh at the future.” Why? because her hope is anchored in something beyond a ticking clock.

Gifted wisdom, bestowed by the Divine,
She laughs at the future, her heart aligned.
In a world of whispers, secrets, and schemes,
Her heart remains steadfast, like sun’s golden beams.

Conspiracies may swirl, shadows may creep,
Yet Lady Wisdom’s laughter runs deep.
Her hope is anchored in truth’s embrace,
A refuge of faith, a sanctuary of grace.

She knows that beyond the veil of time,
God weaves purpose into each rhyme.
In His hands, the universe dances and sings,
And Lady Wisdom laughs, her spirit takes wings.

For in God’s wisdom, she finds her delight,
A beacon of truth in the darkest night.
Her laughter echoes through eternity’s span,
A symphony of trust, a celestial plan.

So when Lady Wisdom laughs, it is not in jest,
But a hymn of praise, a soul’s sweet rest.
Her soul sure, her hope anchored in God,

Untroubled by the world’s chaos, forever in tune.

Seeing God in His complete rulership over all that is known and unknown is a great comfort to those who follow Him. I have nothing to fear.

Will the world end? Yes. But my soul is secure. If the world ends, my hope in God is safe.

Will I see troubling times? Yes. I am told in Scripture, that suffering lies ahead for the world, my family, and myself. But my soul is secure. My mission unchanged, no matter what changes the world undergoes.

Does the state of the world grieve me? Oh my yes! I do grieve deeply about the pain and brokenness sin has caused. But in that grief I do not fear.

Only those who do not hope in God need fear the future. Conspiracies, theories, planning for a world catastrophe, have no place in the Christians thought or life. It only defames our testimony of Christ when we as believers wrap ourselves up in fear of impending doom.

May our hearts, like Lady Wisdom, smile at what we do not know. Let us rest in God, not in circumstances. Let us walk steadfast and undistracted from our purpose in sharing the good news with those around us. As we lay down our lives daily, souls once and forever safe in His tender, eternal care.