I am reflecting on the gift of family. As a Christian I have discovered that it is not always the people we grew up with in the same home who are our “family,” but those who we have bonded with because of our shared Father – God.
We had a memorial service at the church today for a member who passed away, and there was not one relative of the deceased at the service. Nonetheless, the room was comfortably full of people who had known him through the years, most of whom he had attended church with. Each came with a sense of connection, because of a common faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus had made us family. There was a sense of closeness and loving support, even though some of the people were meeting for the first time. I was sad no family came to say goodbye to our friend, but he had a bigger family in the end because of God.
Then I reflected on the Christmas story. There was Joseph and Mary, responding to a message from an angel that they should be married, and that they would have a baby – God’s baby. We read of their journey to Bethlehem because of a census, and how baby Jesus was born in a stable and laid within a manger. We read of shepherds coming to welcome him at his birth, as angels sang in the heavens above. Later magi would come and visit, and worship Jesus.
What struck me for the first time was that there were no grandparents. Who was Mary’s mom? Who was her dad? Where were they? What did they think of this marriage, or the baby? Had they been disowned Mary? What about Joseph’s parents? Were they still living? If they were, where were they? As a brand new grandpa I cannot imagine not showing up at some point to celebrate the birth of my grandson. However, we never hear of Mary or Joseph’s biological families.
Instead, we hear how God gave them shepherds and magi to welcome the birth of their son. In a way, God gave them a new family, a bigger family to celebrate with them. Isn’t that just like God, to fill in the gaps, just like He did for our friend whose service we held today? “I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God…”
– Pastor Gary