The Blessing of Family

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  1 John 3: 1

Do you have memories of family Christmas traditions from your childhoood?  Have you created your own with your children and grandchildren that you look forward to and enjoy?

This week we had the opportunity to think about some of those special times in the life of our family. Miles called his granddad, Uncle Scott, Aunt Emily, and me, and asked us to send an email to him about our favorite Christmas traditions so he could make a booklet for a class assignment. He had already asked other family members, and of course, we were eager to help!

It brought back sweet memories to think back to our childhood and remember those favorite things we did with our loved ones during Christmas. Of course, just like with all families during the holidays, there were a few, little squabbles, some disappointments, and much chaos, but it’s nice to remember the good times!

For me, I will always remember going with my dad and brother through the woods to look for a Christmas tree, usually a fir pine, and trying to find just the right one!  My dad would chop it down, we would drag it home, and my mom and I would decorate it in anticipation of my 2 other brothers, 2 sisters, and their families coming home for Christmas.

Bob remembered with great fondness the excitement of all his cousins coming to his grandmother’s house, and how much fun they had opening presents and playing together – especially the year when he and his brother got Roy Rogers hats, holsters, and guns!

Kelly loved going to her Granny’s house on Christmas Eve, and then coming home, lighting the candles, sitting in front of the tree, and giving our small gifts to each other!  It makes me smile to remember when we started this tradition!  She was around 3 or 4 , and she asked why we didn’t give gifts to each other when we gave them to everyone else. So we started doing so, and how fun it was every year to see what she and Scott would come up with for each other and for us!

Drue especially enjoyed the special times he had with  his grandmother, as they rolled out the dough, baked cookies, and spent time together.

Scott’s favorite was building small Lego objects and then hiding them in the Christmas tree! Ever since he was a little boy, he has always loved the smell of a fresh, green tree, and he would spend hours playing around it and had so much fun placing the Legos in just the right spot!  How I remember finding a few of those as I took down the tree each year!

Emily’s was taking her new games and toys she had gotten from Santa to her grandmother’s house where her cousins did the same. What fun they had sharing and playing together!

Cole said his favorite is going to the Nutcracker each year, and Miles, that he likes sprinkling reindeer food on the lawn on Christmas Eve. And just like many kids these days, they love finding  Michael Snowball – “the Elf on the Shelf” each day.

There’s so many more – annual Christmas church plays, hot chocolate and toasted marshmellows, Christmas Eve candlelight services, caroling together, toy drives, etc. The memories go on for all of us, don’t they? How quickly the years go by and then with each new generation, new traditions are made. Whatever special times they are, they unite us together.

I am sure you have your own that bring a smile and fond memories. How blessed we are and have been to share these special times together at Christmas and all year long. It’s reassuring to have these constants in our lives. Besides giving us the anticipation and joy of such experiences, they strengthen the bond of family, and give us comfort, and security.

As great a blessing as our families are, may we never fail to recognize the wonderful, amazing blessing of being in God’s family, as well. What a privilege it is for us to be called “His children” and to know the joy of being able to call Him our Father. How we remember those times when we have felt His love and presence and have kept those memories in our hearts – just as we have those with our own families. He created us, He sustains us with His grace, and with His love, He brings us into His eternal family.

Those who don’t know Him can’t begin to understand what it would be like to live in the fullness of His presence. What blessings of His assurance and love they miss. May others see our loving God  in us and desire to have the contentment and joy that we find in Him.

May we always be in awe of His great love and goodness to us, and this Christmas season, may we give Him all our love, honor, and praise for making us His own.

 Prayer

Our most loving, gracious Father, thank you for the gift of family this Christmas and for all the joy and blessings they bring. But even more we thank you for your presence in our lives and for the privilege of being called “children of God”.  May we be ever mindful of your love for us and for the gift of your Son.  Amen

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