We are all part of a family. Healthy, dysfunctional, or on a spectrum in between. But imagine the best family that you can. What would you be doing with them during this Christmas season if you could?
We are looking forward to a family get-together between Christmas and New Year’s Day in Colorado. It will be the first time that all of our eleven grandchildren will be together. What fun! I will enjoy watching our children and grandchildren interact. I’m so thankful that they all get along. I don’t take that for granted, knowing that many families don’t enjoy such a privilege. And Christmas is a special time for families, isn’t it?
I know that some of you are far away from your family at this time. Some of you are estranged. You miss your loved ones and wish you could be together. Did you ever wonder what it was like for Mary and Joseph that first Christmas? Oh, it wasn’t actually Christmas back then, but it was the beginning of our celebration. Jesus had left His family in heaven. Mary and Joseph had left their families in Nazareth. Did they feel alone? Did it help that the shepherds joined them for a time of celebrating the newborn Savior? Did it ease the discomfort of a stable when they moved to a house in Bethlehem? Were they happy that strangers came to their house from the Far East to honor the birth of the newborn King? Was it a strain when their little family had to leave for Egypt and be even further away from home?
How thankful we should be that Mary and Joseph loved God so much that they were willing to bear the discomfort of hard times and loneliness. And of course, we are especially thankful that Jesus, God’s dear Son, was willing to leave His heavenly Father to come to earth and provide a way for us to become part of His family.
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12, NKJV).
“All who follow the leading of God’s Spirit are God’s own sons….you have been adopted into the very family circle of God and you can say with a full heart, ‘Father, my Father.’ The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what that means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well!” (Romans 8:14-17, J. B. Phillips).
Whatever your situation is this holiday season, be thankful to be part of God’s forever family. Isn’t that cause for rejoicing?