Meet the women as they arrive by extending a “welcome home” greeting, which is something everyone loves to hear. Encourage the women to exchange this same greeting with each other.
On brightly-colored or gingham tablecloths display items that depict memories and comfort of home—aprons, rolling pins, mixing bowls, family quilts and the old family Bible. Burn candles with a homey scent like apple pie, banana bread or sugar cookie. Play music from the “olden days” as the women arrive. Display wooden signs purchased from craft stores that say “Home Sweet Home.” Or print and frame your own signs using pictures and lettering found on the Internet.
Attach a scripture verse or proverb about home to small whisks or wooden spoons. Often these items can be found in multiple packs from the Dollar Tree® or Dollartree.com.
If holding a potluck dinner, invite the women to bring a favorite food that has been passed down through the generations. During the refreshment time, invite the women to share about the dish they brought. Whose recipe is it? What memories does it bring back? Do they prepare it often, and is it one of their family’s favorites?
Invite the women to bring items connected with a memory. During the program, ask them to share the significance of what they brought. Also, invite them to share about their favorite place or room in their home. This could be in their present home or a house they grew up in. Why is it their favorite?
Invite the women to decorate a plate or cereal/salad bowl. These can usually be purchased from dollar stores.
- White ceramic bowls, plates or vases, which have been glazed and cured
- Rubbing alcohol
- Paper towels
- Permanent markers or paint pens (secure a variety of tip sizes)
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Clean the dish with rubbing alcohol using paper towels and let it dry.
- Decorate the dish freehand or by using stencils, making sure to only decorate the edges of the plate or bowl. (Refrain from coloring the area where food will be placed, as it is NOT safe to eat from a dish that has been colored in that area.)
- Once dishes are decorated place them in oven for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and allow the dishes to cool.
- When cool, remove the dishes.
How Lovely Is Your Dwelling
Read Psalm 84:1–4 from the NIV.
How lovely is your dwelling place,
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.[c]
It’s nice to go away on a trip, but it’s sure wonderful to return home. There is nothing better than donning your favorite slippers, sitting in your favorite chair or lying down to sleep in your own bed. Home brings comfort and delight. (Ask the women to share what brings comfort and makes them feel at home.) It’s great to be surrounded by the familiar. When we are away from the things and people we love, our heart longs for them.
Psalm 84 was written by the sons of Korah who were assigned to be chief musicians in the Tabernacle. In the psalm they share what it is like to be in the house of God and to experience the blessings found there. God’s house is a safe and lovely place where those who go to worship find refreshment for body and soul. The songwriter admits that his soul “yearns” to the point of fainting to be in the courts of the Lord and that his “heart and flesh cry out for the living God.”
Being in the presence of our living God renews us, just like returning home after a long trip. After staying in a hotel or someone else’s home, it’s refreshing to return to the comfort of familiar surroundings. This comfort is likened in the psalm to that of the swallow who makes a nest, “a resting place,” for herself and her young. We too can find rest in the house of God. Our homes should be like His, places of comfort, rest, refreshment and encouragement. Places where we can sleep in safety and raise our children in a loving environment. Places where we realize how much God has blessed us.
There is a saying that has a good message for us all. “Blessings are all around you, waiting for you to see them and be grateful. No matter how little or how much you have, there are always things to be grateful for. Everything is your perception and the more you choose to see the blessings, the more abundant will you feel.”
Prayer: Lord, as we reflect upon these verses of scripture, we thank You that by being in Your house we continually find comfort and refreshment. And Lord, may we ask that You help us to create this same atmosphere of blessing, comfort, rest and refreshment in our own homes. Amen.
Invite the women to hold hands, creating a sense of family and unity. Sing song #660 from the old *1987) Salvation Army Song Book: “Blest be the tie that binds; Our hearts in Christian love; The fellowship of kindred minds; Is like to that above.”