Since humans set foot on this earth and discovered they were hungry, we’ve been eating meals together. You feel it every time you eat alone. That loss. The innate desire to share a meal, a conversation, or maybe a quiet moment that is communicated through the transfer of energy and the communion thereof.
The custom of eating together is sacred. Ancient cultures developed and practiced celebrations and festivals around food and drink. We are all drawn to the ritual of survival, expressed in its many different forms, necessitated by the carnal drive to continue our existence. From the simplicity of tea time to the complexity of month-long heritage celebrations, we can all agree on one thing.
The food better be good, plenty, and shared.
In our home country, we’ve practically manifested holidays for the simple excuse of eating. Thanksgiving is the first to come to mind. Two different cultures, coming together to support each other in the human notion of survival, via means of sharing food. Why would we ever want to stop celebrating that?
It’s the unspoken, untouchable, practically ethereal bond that sharing food provides which propels us into a peak state of health. Everything is connected. Food isn’t just for simple biological satiation, unless you’re eating by yourself.
When a meal is shared, it's psychological. Emotional. Intellectual. Spiritual. How the meal is shared impacts our identity as a whole. When a meal is finished, we have not just grown in mass. We have grown in each of these areas, respective to the degree with which we employed them.
There have been studies on the importance of sharing meals together, and the results shouldn’t be surprising if we consider our intrinsic desires. To steal a quick bullet list from thefamilydinnerproject.org, we can discover those benefits in their simplicity as follows:
- Better academic performance
- Higher self-esteem
- Greater sense of resilience
- Lower risk of substance abuse
- Lower risk of teen pregnancy
- Lower risk of depression
- Lower likelihood of developing eating disorders
- Lower rates of obesity
The holidays force us into one of two positions: isolation or communion.
In isolation, we naturally do not receive any of the benefits mentioned above. But more than that, studies have shown that eating alone can actually increase health problems such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, etc. as well as psychological, namely depression. When we think about it, the results make sense. But how often do we truly think about it at the moment? When life is busy? When eating alone is better than not eating at all? When family doesn’t show up? This is certainly a sad scenario, and we encourage you to make some life changes that will increase your practice of communion in a positive way.
There is a reason why Jesus split the bread and shared it, outside of allegorical foretelling. There is a reason we continue to celebrate the holidays, as well as conjure up more. There is a reason why we share cake at birthdays, pizza at the football party, conversations over coffee, and the list goes on. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a reason not to eat.
Of course, we encourage that the food shared is of the best of quality! The reality is that the same effects that eating in isolation have can be tampered with in unity as well - when done out of balance.
We hope that the holidays no longer mark an unusual communion for you. May even the most mundane of meals be shared in the same spirit of celebration regardless of the date!