A few years ago, a co-worker asked me if I was going anywhere over a long weekend. I happened to mention I was going out of state for a family get-together. She expressed her sympathy. I had to tell her that I was looking forward to it. In my case family get-together are something I look forward too, even if the reasons are sad. As I've grown older, I have found that I seem to be in the minority.
My mother's side of the family is a clannish bunch. My great-great-grandparents came over from Denmark and settled in central Iowa about 140 years ago. Their grown children built their homes near the place where their inherited land came together. My grandmother's parents had emigrated to Canada after they married. Her mother returned to the States with five young girls after my grandmother's father passed away. Two years later, due to illness, their mother could no longer maintain a household of her own. So, the family was split up among the households of the aunts and uncles. Due to the close proximity, they saw each other every day but they no longer lived under one roof. Perhaps that's one reason maintaining family ties was so important to my grandmother and her sisters. They passed it on to the rest of us. Family was important.
In our family, there were some things which were really emphasized. Here are just a few of them.
You trusted in God, no matter what. These sisters learned that from experience and they passed it on to their children.
Never forget that you really do love each other.
Other people may come and go but the family will always be there.
Even when you mess up, we still love you because you are a part of us and nothing will ever change that.
Family doesn't get jealous of each other. When one of us does well, we all do well. We're in this together.
You never take advantage of family. They are a part of you and to take advantage of them is to take advantage of yourself. The same goes with hurting one another.
The list could go on and on but you get the idea.
This is not to say my mom and her seven siblings never fought. They most certainly did...when they were children. In all my years of knowing them (almost 48) I have only known of one actual disagreement. A misunderstanding had arisen between two of the aunts. Over the next few hours there were frantic emails and phone calls from the rest of us. We called the aunts and we called each other. We were eventually able to track down the real problem...a changed area code. I know. It sounds strange but just trust me on this one. The true culprit was revealed, reconciliation took place and life was good again. Of course, I probably should add that most of us are pretty scattered across the country so that probably lessens the disagreements as well.
My maternal grandfather and my maternal grandmother's family are one in the same. Actually my grandfather's mother and my grandmother's aunt were the same person. Okay, my grandfather was adopted by my grandmother's aunt so there's no blood relationship. It did make the family tree a bit interesting sounding though.
I have to say, I've been given a good example of how family is suppose to work. We laugh together and cry together. We help each other out when times are tough and rejoice together when things go well. Most of us are Christ-Followers so we pray together, pray for each other and encourage one another.
Perhaps this is why I have such high expectations when it comes to the Family of God. If I've seen the natural family work together it is reasonable for me to want to see the spiritual family work together as well. Unfortunately, this often has not been the case.
We might declare up and down that we love Jesus. That's wonderful but if we love him we keep his commandments. John 14:15 (KJV)
Jesus said: Did you notice these words? love one another; as I have loved you, It is not enough to simply love each other as the world loves. We are to love one another as God loves us. Oh boy...
I uh...must confess that I have a bit of work to do in this... I think I'd better rephrase what I was about to say. I have #0099ff">C-17°|F1°a lot of work to do this area.
I guess I'd better get busy. What about you?
K (Remembering that while I in myself am not capable of this sort of amazing love, Christ who dwells within me is!)
Certainly Jesus was tempted as to how he saw his own flesh family, once a woman yelled to him saying, blessed are the b*** that nursed you and the womb that bore you, and he instantly said, more blessed are those that hear the word of God and keep it. Family is good and fun, but wisdom lied in heeding the book of books.- the word of God. May you have a swell time with your family. Amen.