My grandfather had biceps like tennis balls. It was uncanny. He was a small but powerful man. He didn’t weigh much more than 160 pounds, but his biceps were ripped. As a kid, I thought that was the coolest thing ever.
My grandfather was a farmer his entire life. He actively farmed well into his seventies and walked on this earth into his nineties. He also rode his bicycle around town. He put brown sugar on his Cheerios. He drank plain hot water in the morning at breakfast. He mowed his lawn twice a week. He owned a motorcycle. He always wanted to help people. He was married to my grandmother for seventy-five years, and he loved Jesus more than anything else in the world.
My strongest memory of my grandfather is of doing devotions every morning around the breakfast table when we traveled to western Kansas to visit. As we were finishing breakfast (thank you, Grandpa for waiting until after we ate), he’d pull out his giant Bible filled with pencil markings and bookmarks. Quietly but firmly he’d gain our attention and read from God’s Word. Then he would read a passage from his devotional book and give a few of his own thoughts, undoubtedly formed during his prayer time early that morning. As a kid, I couldn’t always follow what was being discussed among the adults at the table, but I always left that table sure of a few things.
God was important. God was so important that Grandpa took a few extra minutes from his busy farming schedule to lead his kids and grandkids in spending time with our Creator.
Those devotional times were sacred. I didn’t understand all the big words and long sentences, but there was an unmistakable sense of peace and reverence in the air. Even when I was bored, I liked it.
Finally, my grandpa loved Jesus in ways he couldn’t even express. My grandpa was old school—not very emotional on the outside but full of love and passion on the inside. These times at the table were some of the moments when I most clearly saw that passion and love seep out. His stoic demeanor was often betrayed by slight pockets of moisture clinging to the corners of his eyes as he read Scripture.
Whether I sat at that table as a bratty kid, a dorky preteen, or an uninterested teenager, I always knew there was something sacred about those last fifteen minutes at breakfast. I often think back on that time around my grandparents’ breakfast table and wonder how I can create these kinds of moments for my kids.
As long as it is clear that God is supremely important in a given moment, that moment becomes sacred.
I still struggle to focus on anything for more than ten minutes, and the words morning person have never been used to describe any of the adults in our home. Consequently, we rarely have sacred moments before eight a.m. But we’ll keep trying, during all hours of the day, to find moments that make it clear to our daughters that God is important in our home.
There are many ways to define sacred. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether one uses words like transformational or incarnational or sanctification . . . al. As long as it is clear that God is supremely important in a given moment, that moment becomes sacred. Your sacred moments may not look like the moments from around my grandpa’s breakfast table. They probably won’t look like those we read about on Facebook or on the blog of a Christian publishing company. Instead, they’ll look like yours.
My grandparents are all gone now. It’s odd, really. I try to put my fingers around their influence on my life. I can’t remember any mottos or life verses they taught me. I don’t recall any great spiritual discussions I had with them. But, somehow, I have this deep reliance on them for my walk with Christ. They shaped me. Their patterns of engaging life shaped me. Those sacred moments we shared together shaped me.
I look forward to the day when we will gather again around the breakfast table with Cheerios, brown sugar, and plain hot water. My father’s dad will slide his Bible over and push his empty bowl of Cheerios to the side. He’ll look each of us deeply in the eyes, and the sacred moment will begin again.