Let's get this factoid out there first thing. No family is perfect. In fact families, including my own are at least a little bit dysfunctional if not a whole lot. But, that's what makes family gatherings a lot more interesting. The quirky characters, the stories about strange Aunt (fill in the blank), and then wagering with your sister if everyone can get along for one afternoon out of the year--it should sound familiar.
And I am thankful for my family--my biological as well as the one I married into. We've got some really great people in the family tree. They've come from all walks of life--pastors, teachers, machinists, musicians, a taxidermist, laborers, truck drivers, cops, nurses, you name it, and you'll find every vocation amongst the branches.
Since I was raised by two PK's (PK = preacher's kid), discussions over coffee and dessert could range from dispensationalism to who the Nephilim might be. Music was part of everyday life. My mother playing the piano, my dad strumming his guitar and singing. We had cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents in our house all the time. Those were the days when you could just show up at someone's door and it wasn't a big deal. No one called before them came, especially family. Whatever was being prepared for dinner was made to stretch and miraculously feed everyone. If you showed up after supper, the men made a quick trip to the store for ice cream.
After marriage and kids came along, we hosted family dinners and birthday parties.Our girls had the blessing of grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins visiting on a regular basis. The big get togethers on my husband's side were at my sister-in-law's house. She had the biggest house. It was non-stop playing for the young cousins, playing Rook for the adults, and of course way too much food. Whether it was politics, religion, or whose Rook rules we were playing by, conversation was always lively. Perfect times? No. There were disagreements, crying children, over-stressed cooks, and a few minor food disasters; all the typical family get together stuff. But it was good. Lots of fond memories made.
While our families aren't perfect by a long shot, there's a lot of love to go around, and a shared faith that binds us together, stronger than the hugs we give each other. Who prays harder for you than family? Who loves you even when you're as irritating as all get out? Who will make the dinner cooked for four, stretch to feed four more? But the added blessing of the extended family of faith is a bunch of extra brothers and sisters you get, which brings to mind the old hymn below. That family isn't perfect either, and there's plenty of dysfunctional to go around in the church. But, we're family and we take care of each other.
While the biological family ties us together by blood, the family of faith is tied together by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We've been blessed with wonderful biological families and church families, who have stood by us, prayed with us, shown us hospitality, visited us when we were sick, and shared a lot of laughs. Doubly blessed once again by the Heavenly Father who loves to give us such good things.
Love one another, deeply from the heart I Peter 1:22(b)