Practically everybody has some sort of plans to visit or be visited by relatives during the Christmas season. For many this is fun and joyous ... many others absolutely dread it! But either way, there's really no getting around it.
My mother's side of the family, the Lewis clan, had a gathering down in Bristol, FL this past Saturday. We were invited and I drug Anita and whatever kids were home down there for the day. I even convinced Yates and Alyson to come over from Tallahassee to join in the fun! And yes, it was both fun and awkward for all of us. You especially have to feel for poor Alyson as she's thinking, "I actually married into this mess!" We had an abundance of food ... even sampled some bear meat that my cousin killed and cooked. Wasn't bad at all. We sat around an outdoor fire for a while. We went down the road to visit the family cemetery. We came back to the house and ate some more. We did the typical things that families do when they get together for such things! And then we made the uneventful drive back home.
Christmas and family just seem to go together. Our hearts grieve with and for those who have lost loved ones and don't get to spend Christmas together anymore. Our hearts go out to those who aren't able to be with their families during Christmas - military, sick, elderly, can't afford to travel, estranged from one another, etc.
There's a special family we're to enjoy each and every Christmas ... and it's a family that is spread all over the world ... it's God family, known as the church. Brothers and sisters in Christ, loving one another as their Father has loved them in Christ. And one of the wonderful things about this family is that it's still growing! New births are occurring each and every day, in nations all around the world; the family of God will continue for generations and generations to come until our elder brother, Jesus Christ, returns and makes all things new.
Please pause this Christmas and enjoy your family ... both your biological and your spiritual family. Don't dishonor our Father by neglecting your brothers and sisters. Take time to reach out to some fellow believers and encourage them in the Gospel. And, in the process, you know you'll be blessed far beyond whatever blessing you may think you bestow on others. Let's commit that during 2016 we will be a part of and enjoy our church family.